Blog: Can’t cook, won’t cook

Catherine Sleep | 30 October 2003

Yesterday a television researcher contacted me concerning a programme she is working on. Yet another reality show, it will follow different families who are strapped for cash and help them find ways to save money. The episode in question concerns a hard-up family that blows ridiculous amounts of money on takeaway fastfood and ready meals.

This is just one example of the can’t cook, won’t cook generation paying the price for its ignorance in expensive junk food, and acquiring a few basic cooking skills would surely be a good way forward. The problem is all-pervading – although I quite enjoy preparing food, I’m considerably less able than my mother (although not my father – but that’s a separate issue for another day…), and she in turn claims to be less sure of herself than her own mother.

This is partly attributable to the development of more ‘convenient’ foods – and they have a valuable and very important role to play, not least in liberating women from the need to slave in the kitchen all day. That said, when it comes to the point where many people are unable to make themselves something cheap, tasty and healthy to eat using a few simple ingredients, we’ve gone wrong somewhere.

This is why it’s great to see a growing number of affordable cookery courses aimed at kids, teenagers and adults, such as the charitable organisation hyperlinked below. (I hear on the grapevine that they are setting up an outreach programme too, so that those who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to take part can do so.) Now, a voucher for such a course could make an ideal Christmas present, not just for kids about to go off to college but for anyone who’d like to get cooking. Unlike acrobatics, it really is never too late to learn to cook.

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