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Can't cook, won't cook

Published by Anne Rowlands on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 at 10:35 am

The current horsemeat scandal, and in particular its recent discovery in ready meals, has got me thinking about how dependent we have become on processed food.

For someone with a great interest in food (and a degree in Home Economics), it saddens me that we no longer seem to cook meals from scratch anymore.

I know we all lead very busy lives, but at what stage did we stop cooking?

Don’t get me wrong I am not saying I never buy ready meals or get a takeaway, of course I still do, but I know that the nutritional content in them is not great and they generally contain too much salt, sugar and fat.

I accept some people find it difficult to buy fresh food because of accessibility issues, e.g. they have to get a bus to reach a supermarket, or because money is tight, but it really doesn’t have to cost the earth.

There was an article in the Observer recently which showed how a family was able to make meals for the whole week on just £35. In this instance they bought a chicken which made them a dinner on Saturday and Sunday and on the Monday they were able to use the remaining bones and meat to make a hearty soup.

You can also just as easily, and cheaply, pick up a few pound of mince from your local butcher to make mince and potatoes, spaghetti bolognese or a chilli and you can safely eat it in the knowledge it came from a cow and not a horse!

I think part of the problem is that in schools, home economics or food technology (or whatever it is called these days) is no longer considered important. I understand that more attention needs to be given to the academic subjects like maths and English, but isn’t it also important to teach children how to cook and to give them advice on nutrition and health eating?

This is perhaps why, as a nation, we are more obese than we have ever been before.

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