GOLD STAR to Michael Gove MP for making cooking compulsory for UK children

Congratulations to the British Government and in particular Michael Gove for their ambitious plan to ensure British children know how to cook healthy food. With the aim “to ensure every 14 year old has the ability to cook 20 savoury healthy recipes and to understand the origins and nutritional benefits of food”, from September next year all pupils between the ages of seven and 14 are to be taught cookery as part of the new national curriculum. A report compiled by the restaurateurs Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent of the Leon chain has made cooking lessons a chief recommendation, and it is understood the Government is in agreement. A second directive that will make it compulsory to eat lunches cooked in school aims to introduce a culture of fresh cooked meals to all children, ending the bringing of packed lunches – of varying nutritional quality – into school.

They have identified twenty recipes and techniques every child should learn
Cottage pie – uses up leftovers, comforts like lambswool
Dal – spiced pulses, incredibly cheap and phenomenally healthy
Tomato sauce – versatile, can be used in at least 10 other dishes
Paella – beautiful, energising and aromatic
Omelette – quite simply essential
Chicken stock – made from roast leftovers; boosts flavour without salt
Pasta and bean soup – rib sticking yet oddly elegant
Cornish pasties – easier-than-you-think portable goodness
Pancakes – a novice chef’s first challenge; always delectable
Mussels “marinières” – sustainably farmed seafood, economical and easy
French mustard vinaigrette – eye-watering, transforming
Beef stew – wine-rich and with a strip of orange rind (and dumplings)
Vegetable gratin – heart-warming use of béchamel and melted cheese
Fish pie – rich, popular party food
Bread – a life-long lasting lesson in fermentation
Grilled fish with hollandaise – challenging and ultimately impressive
Mayonnaise – merits the elbow grease and universally versatile
Curry – any one is a masterclass in balancing diverse flavour
Mashed potato – whipped with butter, velvety smooth
Lancashire hot pot – the easiest stew of all, beloved

Although my list would be slightly different – would include stir fry,  risotto and macaroni cheese rather than mussels marinieres or hollandaise sauce, I applaud this project and only wish we could get our government to demonstrate the same concern for the health of New Zealand children!