Cookery School News

From plantation to plate up – something’s missing

Continuing with our food and farming theme – we’ve got a cracking post about world food wastage coming up tomorrow; it will open your eyes, for sure – but today we look at how much knowledge is coming off the farmyard and finding its way into our offspring’s minds. Judging from a recent survey conducted by Linking Environment And Farming, not a fat lot.

We’ve written many articles on about the importance of learning young people to cook. Many leave school with only the knowledge of how to cook ready- or microwave meals, often not even how to be even that resourceful. But this recent survey by LEAF, the food certification body, shows that we perhaps need to start a little further back in the chain if we are really going to bring cookery as a practical skill to our children.

And we’re not talking infants, juniors or senior school aged children, here; we’re talking those in further education and beyond, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three. Astonishingly, 3% of those surveyed believed that bacon came off of cows, whilst a third answered something else other than pigs.

Furthermore, the LEAF study of the 2,000 young adults found that less than a half of those questioned knew where butter came from. The picture question showed three pictures: a dairy cow, beef cattle and wheat. Whilst less than fifty percent opted for the dairy cow (25% not even hazarding a guess at all), 8% opted for the beef cattle and 7% – that’s 140 young adults out of 2,000 – believed that butter was obtained from wheat. Incredible. Everyone knows it comes from buttercups!

Wheat is – allegedly – the provider of butter, eggs and steak

Wheat seemed a popular answer, with 10% guessing that eggs came from either it or maize and 12% – that’s nearly one in eight – answered that steak – STEAK for goodness sake – came from wheat, also.

And as for guessing how long crops took to be ready for harvest from plantation, ten percent of the young adults thought that wheat, oats and potatoes would be ready in less than a month. Some fertilizer, that!

In order to address the concern over the survey’s findings, CEO of LEAF, Caroline Drummond, wants to tackle another aspect thrown up by the survey, which is that thirty percent of kids born in the nineties haven’t been to a farm in a decade or more. Yesterday, LEAF held Open Farm Sunday in an attempt to bring the public closer to the food they eat at its root source.  Hundreds of farms across the UK took part in the event and we await figures to see how well received the day was.

If this is the state of farming and food education, perhaps our cookery schools are missing a trick, here? As well as teaching young adults to cook, they could incorporate basic food knowledge, too. With so many cookery classes taking place in farmhouse kitchens, what a wonderful opportunity to educate our children: “from plantation to plate-up“. Bagsy copyright on the name, if anyone takes it up!

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Cookery School News

Bridge 67 Cookery School – above a cut

With cookery courses to suit all levels, every taste and even classes just for men, Bridge 67 Cookery School caters for just about the lot. Conveniently situated in the heart of the Midlands with the majority of its cookery courses ran as one-day affairs on a Saturday, there really is little excuse not to expand your culinary prowess, here in Leicestershire.

Set in a idyllic farm surroundings, where the basic cookery school began back in 2006, Bridge 67 now boasts its own purpose-built dual-floor school-house, thanks in part to an EDMA grant enabling the recent expansion of the business which sees cookery courses every Saturday with a liberal sprinkling of one-off courses mid-week throughout the year (2012 – Sat 7th Jan – Sat 8th Dec inclusive).

Using the original farmhouse backdrop, Jill Vickers began teaching the absolute basics of learning to cook (and before you say it, that’s not necessarily the ethos of the ‘Just for Men’ cookery class that will be showcased four times this year!). Through a deserved reputation of quality teaching, a real farm setting and, judging by the many testimonials of delighted customers on their site from over the years, a very large emphasis endorsing that learning to cook should be fun, the cookery school is now able to bring you many culinary experiences at differing levels to suit your ability.

As it mentions on their home page, it matters not whether you’re a novice and need instruction at level one basis (okay – the men’s class is pitched there) or need more refined skills through levels two and three, the cookery courses are made available to incorporate that requirement. There is even a specialist Italian class one Thursday in every month (except June and December) dedicated to cooking with Firenze and seasonal one-day events for advanced dinner parties to coincide with whichever season we happen to find ourselves.

There are spaces for the majority of the cookery classes left to run this year, all bookable through their online form; if there’s someone you know who’d benefit from the courses, you can even buy a voucher tailored to the specific event (I was going to say for a Valentine’s Day gift, but you’d have to be dead certain that sort of present was given and received in the right light!).

There’s far too much information to go into the details of the courses in one article, there are that many, so check back here tomorrow where we’ll go into the specifics of the best on offer to give you a taste of the menu they’re cooking up every week at Bridge 67 Cookery School.

p.s. the title of this article will be explained tomorrow, also…intrigued?