To think that this is excessive for a Food Tech ingredients list

(122 Posts)
ModreB Mon 13-May-13 19:02:05

DS3 has food tech and was given a long list of specific ingredients to bring. Went to a big supermarket on the way home, got the list and the total came to nearly £9 shock. I wasn't buying branded products either, but supermarket own brands.

I am in the lucky position that I can afford this, albeit through gritted teeth angry but AIBU to think that some families would really struggle to pay this amount of money for 1 recipe, to make 1 portion to cook for 1 lesson, and that the sodding school and teacher should at least have some consideration for this!

What happened to teaching how to make affordable food as well angry

LynetteScavo Mon 13-May-13 19:05:36

I've posted about this before.

I once spent £12 buying everything to make a bakewell tart...partly because I also had to buy the tin.

I was also in a position to be able to afford to buy it, but can imagine it must be a real struggle for some families.

thebody Mon 13-May-13 19:11:45

Totally agree. Teach then to make a bloody good spag boll.

Healthy and cheap.

TheRealFellatio Mon 13-May-13 19:14:37

I don't understand why the school cannot buy the ingredients in bulk and then just get a contribution to cover costs from the parents. It would make much more sense than everyone ending up with whole jars and tubes of things they need two teaspoons of.

fuzzpig Mon 13-May-13 19:15:59

Ridiculous. YANBU.

I am dreading this - £9 a week or fortnight would make a big dent in our food budget.

I can see the argument that it can get the DC more involved in buying the ingredients (although how likely that is, when plenty of families use online shopping etc, is another matter...) but surely it would be better generally for the ingredients to be bought in bulk by the school/teacher and an annual contribution made by the parents instead. It is daft when each child has to provide a jar of spices of which only a tiny amount is used.

lirael Mon 13-May-13 19:17:23

We had the same last week - although it was Ds's fault as he chose pineapple, mango and passionfruit to go in his fruit salad! As he had already done the prep in the lesson and it was written on a tablet of stone (apparently) I had to buy the ingredients.

jacks365 Mon 13-May-13 19:17:45

It depends. My daughter has done food tech gcse and i didn't find it that bad but i'm a cook from scratch person so normally have a lot of ingredients in the cupboard. What was your ds3 making?

LineRunner Mon 13-May-13 19:18:56

I've posted about this frigging nonsense before, too. 'One teaspoon of maple syrup'. 'One vanilla pod'. 'One inter-galactic spore of Ood fungus'. Just .... off.

Mandy2003 Mon 13-May-13 19:19:42

I had a long discussion with the Food Tech teacher about this - she told me nothing was kept in the Food Tech room in case of - wait for it - ALLERGIES!! Aaaargh! H&S gone mad I think.

fuzzpig Mon 13-May-13 19:20:56

Or even a compromise could be made. School keeps/provides ingredients like oil, spices, flour etc, and DCs bring in fresh ingredients (this would work for my DSDs whose food tech lessons are actually quite good - they are encouraged to vary the basic recipe) so for example if they were all making scones then the basic ingredients would be provided and shared, but somebody might bring in raisins, another person brings in cheese etc. Or if they were teaching a basic soup recipe then DCs could choose what veg to bring etc, but they wouldn't need to each spend money on stock cubes or whatever.

LineRunner Mon 13-May-13 19:20:59

fuzzpig DS says that half the class regularly turn up with absolutely nothing in the way of ingredients, and they are asked to sit and 'write something'.

fuzzpig Mon 13-May-13 19:23:30

The allergy thing is a bit bizarre. DSD1 has coeliac, but still does cooking with everyone else. Just uses GF flour or whatever. But her classmates would still be cooking with regular, gluteny ingredients - she just has to be extra careful about not sharing spoons etc.

How would not storing ingredients in the kitchen help with that? confused

NorbertDentressangle Mon 13-May-13 19:25:24

What age of children are you talking about here as DD is Yr 8 and her food tech seems ridiculously basic TBH?

They have made things like pasta salad, couscous salad, pizza, savoury scones, mini carrot cakes etc.

I don't think we've had to go out and buy anything but they do give them a choice of what to bring in which must help a lot of people out especially when your DC presents you with a list the night before!! eg. for the savoury scones they had to choose 2 or 3 items from a suggested list to add to them so you could go basic (cheese and onion) or more exotic (olives, feta and sun-dried tomato) or any combination you fancied.

Weegiemum Mon 13-May-13 19:27:54

My dd1 payed £6 at the start of the year, covers all ingredients for all of s-1. Goes up if you choose standard grate HE.

ModreB Mon 13-May-13 19:30:37

jacks he is making a pizza. A bleeding pizza.

I cook a lot from scratch, but he needed stuff that some I already have, but not in the format that they want. So, I have a packet of yeast that I use, and is already open, but he needed 1 sachet. A jar of tomato pizza topper. Would tomato puree do - no it had to be pizza topper. Ready grated cheese, as they wouldn't have time to grate it in class, not grated at home and put in a bag (this was specified in the ingredients list, as apparently it might go "off" and needed to be sealed up angry). Ready sliced onions, ditto no time to slice them in class, needed to be in a sealed bag etc.

You get the picture.

ModreB Mon 13-May-13 19:35:19

Norbert he is Y8 as well.

Andro Mon 13-May-13 19:38:28

I'm getting the picture that they're not teaching anything about food prep! Sounds more like an exercise in making the teacher's life easier to me (or stupidly short classes).

NorbertDentressangle Mon 13-May-13 19:45:02

ModreB - That's ludicrous about the ready grated/ready sliced pre-packed ingredients.

Withe the pizza for example DD's school would expect them to take a whole onion and a certain weight of cheese. They would then chop and grate during the lesson.

No wonder you find all these ready prepared ingredients in supermarkets....the next generation don't know how to use a grater!

lirael Mon 13-May-13 19:53:34

Yes same here - DS's fruit salad lesson was all about slicing (apparently we are NOT allowed to call it 'chopping' grin) so they had to take in the whole fruit. Which is why we ended up with about a gallon of fruit salad!

ModreB Mon 13-May-13 19:55:25

The thing is, DS3 actually likes cooking at home, grates, chops, slices perfectly happily.

Apparently last year one of the pupils sustained a "grater related injury" which is one of the reasons, as well at time, that they ask for the pre-prepared ingredients. And the fact that ingredients prepared at home might not be "to the required standard" angry

Ready grated cheese and a pizza topper?


What would have actually happened had you sent in home grated, I wonder.

jacks365 Mon 13-May-13 19:58:01

I'd be complaining about the ready grated and stuff like the yeast and pizza topper. My dd's school encourages them to think for themselves and plan their own dish, they even have to find their own recipe. If they choose to use ready made bases then that's fine too. What your school is doing is unreasonable and i don't blame you for being annoyed at all.

JambalayaCodfishPie Mon 13-May-13 20:01:07

Our first year seven practical is fruit salad.

It teaches chopping/slicing. Many children don't have the slightest clue how to handle a knife safely.

It also teaches them about managing their time - again, many have never had to 'make' something in less than an hour.

And finally, most importantly (wink) it introduces them to washing up. Most, if not all of the class, have never done this at age 11.

We let them pick the fruits though, and actively promote cheaper fruits and Aldi super six if suitable.

JambalayaCodfishPie Mon 13-May-13 20:01:42

grin Grater related injury. grin

DS1 gets to choose what he needs, so the stupid ingredients lists are always mostly his fault. hmm

The school don't complain if you grate your own cheese and slice your own onion yourself though. That would be madness. Utter madness.

HamletsSister Mon 13-May-13 20:05:20

Weird reading this. Our school provides all the ingredients. Not sure about special ones for allergies but they do adapt recipes, I know. Such an odd system......

Groovee Mon 13-May-13 20:08:31

We pay £25 a year in their first year for home ec, then if they choose to continue its £22 a term but that includes containers to bring the food home and all ingredients.

Jestrin Mon 13-May-13 20:08:36

£9??? Ridiculous! when DS had food tech he would get a list of 2-3 things to choose from and he could add ingredients if he wanted to experiment a bit but they were recipes such as spag Bol, macaroni cheese, pizza and cakes.

For the other tech lessons we have to contribute £7 for equipment.

I do think though, that not a week goes by when we aren't asked for money for something!

johnthepong Mon 13-May-13 20:14:07

Im a food teacher and even I think thats a load of bollocks! I would have sent him in with cheese he grated at home and a whole onion. I would have also bought passata, I wouldnt buy pizza topping!!!

We always have a load of spare ingredients at school, the only thing is if you give them out too much the kids tend to take it for granted they can just use our ingredients. I am always happy for kids to adapt recipes according to taste, budget etc, I usually give them tips when I give them a recipe.

The only thing I can think about the yeast why she wanted a sachet was because that was the fast acting stuff and the stuff you have at home might be the yeast you have to reactivate which can take time- when kids have bought this stuff in Ive actually given them a sachet instead because we dont have time to activate yeast.

StyleManual Mon 13-May-13 20:17:34

Most people have no idea how busy a food tech teacher is. Imagine organising 20 odd kids to prepare, cook and was up a dish in an hour. Then the next class are lining up for their lesson immediately afterwards. It's a real squeeze especially with kids with no basic cooking or washing up skills.
And when is the teacher supposed to do all this shopping? In her own time? Or take time out of school? Lots of schools dont have the budget to employ a special technician to sort out all that out.

StyleManual Mon 13-May-13 20:19:54

Agree that £9 is too much though. I was responding to the posters who think school should sort all the ingredients out.

ModreB Mon 13-May-13 20:21:43

I really don't know what the school think they are doing. They don't seem to have a clue.

Last week was an hour long theory lesson in how to make a pizza. This week it's the practical, ie actually making a pizza.

There doesn't seem to be anything about how to make a balanced meal, for a family or for yourself. Or how to make affordable food, or how to make recipes adapt to what you have in.

The first thing they made was a spag bol - without the pasta I might add, and it was so bland it was basically mince, herbs, and tinned chopped tomato. They weren't allowed to add a stock cube (too much salt) more than 1 clove of garlic (too smelly) and made it with 300g of mince, which was supposed to make enough to feed 4 people!

DameFanny Mon 13-May-13 20:29:22

What the actual fuck is "pizza topping" please?

WilsonFrickett Mon 13-May-13 20:32:41

My DS7 can 'make a pizza' in that case. I let him grate and chop (kinda). The rest is just... scattering, isn't it?

NoWayPedro Mon 13-May-13 20:33:36

Utterly ridiculous YANBU

I make pizza at home and for £9 I'd make enough for a whole class to have a slice! If you are asked to buy all the expensive ready grated/sliced stuff - screw it and just phone domino's next time, probably cheaper too smile

Many moons ago I did home ec gcse and we had double lessons to accommodate prep/cooking/cleaning times.

Bunbaker Mon 13-May-13 20:36:01

That lot costs £9!. Where are you shopping? Harrods?
Cheese - I would just grate some at home and put it in a bag
Pizza topping - fry some onion and garlic, add a tin of tomatoes and simmer until reduced, pack into a small container
Yeast - Not everyone will have yeast at home and you can't buy it in single packets so I accept that it might be a problem

ModreB Mon 13-May-13 20:39:09

It's a jar of what is basically tomato puree, with "added Italian herbs" for flavour.

So, rather than show them how to flavour tomato puree with herbs etc, it comes ready made in a jar.

So much more convenient lazy dontcha know angry

Mandy2003 Mon 13-May-13 20:50:03

I think you can buy it in a tube too grin

nannynick Mon 13-May-13 20:50:05

To yeast or not to yeast... Surely the HOuR theory lesson taught them different types of base that can be made.

YANBU to complain. Schools need to adapt to the ecconomic times, students encouraged to group up and buy ingredients to share if they really must all make exactly the same thing.

fuzzpig Mon 13-May-13 21:08:17

FFS grated cheese, pizza topper and chopped onion? <facepalm>

BTW I am not snobby about taking shortcuts like that, I became disabled last year and stuff like pregrated cheese is brilliant for me now as it saves energy and pain.

But surely in a lesson they should be expected to be able to learn to do stuff like grating and chopping, it is fundamental to being confident in the kitchen? And then when they are old enough to be planning/cooking food at home, they can of course make the choice to pay more for convenience (as I have) but it's not so much of a 'choice' if you don't know how to DIY in the first place is it?

I am quite surprised at yr7s not knowing how to chop (sorry, slice grin) fruit or wash up confused.

ShadowStorm Mon 13-May-13 21:19:25

How does buying ready prepared ingredients teach kids about cooking?

I know that they can be useful time savers, but surely in a cooking class, they should be learning how to do these things from scratch? Or at least encouraged to do the chopping and grating at home, if there's no time for it in the actual lesson.

Also not seeing why they can't just put tomato puree over the pizza base and then sprinkle a few herbs on top.

foodtech Mon 13-May-13 21:33:20

It's so much easier in Scotland. We just buy the food and the pupils pay a certain amount each year depending on the course. All they need to bring is a container. I find it very strange pupils bring in food. What about the poor ones who ave no money or parents that don't care. Seems unfair.

foodtech Mon 13-May-13 21:33:46


HappyMummyOfOne Mon 13-May-13 21:51:00

I wonder if some schools wont buy the ingredients as parents refuse to pay for them as they opt out of contributions. Perhaps the teacher doesnt have time to bulk shop for the class.

£9 for a decent meal is ok but for a basic pizza it seems expensive.

foodtech Mon 13-May-13 21:54:54

The majority of parents pay. Obviously the ones with money problems don't but most school have a budget for that situation so the department (and pupil) won't lose out. Shopping is within the remit of our head of department. Works just fine.

Fuckwittery Mon 13-May-13 22:10:21

is food tech an option or compulsory in secondary schools?

DameFanny Mon 13-May-13 22:12:33

Hey fuzzpig - can't remember the name of it but I got a brilliant machine last year which is pretty much just for grating - one grater for cheese, coarser for coleslaw etc. was about 40 quid, but worth it for the saving of wrists, and way easier to clean than a food processor

LynetteScavo Mon 13-May-13 22:44:02

DS has done Food Tech for one term each year in Y7, &8 and Y9. It's not one of his options so he won't be doing it again.

But that's OK because he knows how to make burgers frin scratch and peppermint creams. Oh, and bakewell tart.

MummytoKatie Mon 13-May-13 22:44:05

£9 for a pizza? You can buy them from tesco ready made for about £2.50 and then bung them in the oven for £2.50.

Actually that would be an interesting lesson - completely home made, semi home made, bought from Tescos, bought from Dominos - you could mark each for cost, time, taste, skill needed, fat content, vegetable content etc.

MummytoKatie Mon 13-May-13 22:44:51

Bung in the oven for 12 minutes

picnicbasketcase Mon 13-May-13 22:49:53

It's just bloody ridiculous. At my secondary school, parents had to send in money to cover all ingredients at the beginning of term and it was there ready to use for each lesson. Surely that makes more sense?

BlackeyedSusan Mon 13-May-13 22:57:48

dd and ds made pizza, including the sodding bases. when I can afford a sodding blast furnace we might try it again. they are 4 and 6. I am hoping that they will be able to do more than sprrinkle a bit of topping on a pizza base by the time they are in secondry school.

Tingalingle Mon 13-May-13 23:13:54

I don't understand why the school cannot buy the ingredients in bulk and then just get a contribution to cover costs from the parents.

Ours does this for all the main part of the recipe and asks them to fund their own choc chips/grated carrot/disgustingly inventive extra ingredient. Thank god for common sense.

starfishmummy Mon 13-May-13 23:27:40

Ds's school provide all the ingredients. (as do the school run after school club) There is a girl in his class who has coelinc disease and they manage not to contaminate her food....

ificandream Tue 14-May-13 00:30:49

picnicbasketcase really wish they would do that at my childs school.hate trying to pack the eggs in so they dont get smashed on the way.

Bunbaker Tue 14-May-13 06:46:20

"Ours does this for all the main part of the recipe and asks them to fund their own choc chips/grated carrot/disgustingly inventive extra ingredient. Thank god for common sense"

They do that at DD's school as well.

FW Food tech is compulsory in years 7 and 8. Not sure about year 9 as DD is in year 8. I think it should be compulsory because being able to cook is a far more useful life skill than being able to make a metal executive toy or a plastic mobile phone holder.

I also think that the timetabling should be better organised so that the children get two hours so that they can do some proper cooking from scratch. DD's DT food tech teacher is lovely and inspired DD to do more cooking at home, and that is how it should be.

seeker Tue 14-May-13 06:48:54

I would just ignore the request for bought grated ingredients and send home grated (having made the child do the grating) in a sealed bag.

Anthracite Tue 14-May-13 06:55:21

That is crazy that they are not allowed to chop and grate in school. Surely the point of lessons is to learn the skills? That is the priority for DDs schools, but they both do Home Economics. Is that different from Food Tech?

I'm actually a fan of the DDs going to the supermarket and buying their own ingredients. That is an important skill too.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 14-May-13 07:03:01

"That is crazy that they are not allowed to chop and grate in school"

chopping and grating would depend on the school, the children and how the lessons are set out.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 14-May-13 07:04:41

I think it is ludicrous that they add to the expense by requiring commercial ready grated ingredients shock

I'm very glad I did food tech (or HE as then known) until gcse as I use it every day - we did nutrition and home safety which have both been very handy.

The allergies thing is rubbish - just an excuse angry

TiredyCustards Tue 14-May-13 07:16:37

Grated cheese on a pizza shock

Surely if they're making the base up with yeast they have time while it's rising to prep the toppings.

Food tech was a joke when I was at school too (90s). One time we made pasties and I wasn't aware that you had to cook the potatoes first confused

BikeRunSki Tue 14-May-13 07:21:43

Goodness. My DC are still tiny, but whatever happened to Home Economics?

We had this. I expected dd to come home with a pizza big enough to feed 3 kids, what she brought home was 2 pizzas the size of compact discs!

She did apple crumble yesterday, that was big enough for the whole family if you were happy to eat apples that weren't peeled, which IMO is really odd in a dessert.

At her old school though she came home with half naked cakes, lesson wasn't long enough apparently and teacher told them to stick then in the oven for 5 minutes when they got home!! WTF!!! confused

Samu2 Tue 14-May-13 08:03:52

My teen is doing GCSE catering and makes some really lovely expensive dishes. Thankfully it is all supplied by the school and we pay nothing.

fuzzpig Tue 14-May-13 08:38:10

Thanks for the suggestion DameFanny I will look into it. Have been considering one of those mini veg chopper things as well (we do have a fab food processor but it's too heavy for me now and, as you say, difficult to clean!) smile

The timetable issue is a good point. At DSDs' school they do this quite well - they run on a two week timetable so on week A they'd have a shorter lesson where they do planning/nutrition, and on week B they have a double lesson where they cook and taste. This means they were doing a new dish every 2 weeks which is how it should be IMO - they've learned a lot of practical skills and have a decent base of meal ideas.

At my (grammar) school however anything vocational was very much looked down on, so in all design/food tech lessons it was 95% paperwork and 5% practical. Now I do understand the importance of the planning/design, nutrition, cost comparison, evaluating etc but it meant that in our entire food tech course we made TWO things. A pasta dish... and a sandwich. hmm

DS1's school provide the basic ingredients (for free) and have us buy the extras DS1 has decided on. This is why the huge bill and ludicrous ingredients are usually his fault. Haggis scones anyone?

90% of my (cookery) home ec lessons at school were about making cakes. There was no planning. You just turned up (with 50p) and were issued with ingredients and shown how to do the recipe. It usually involved sharing an egg with your partner.

Ambridge Tue 14-May-13 08:59:44

OP, YANBU. 'Not allowed' to bring in home-grated cheese because it might go off? This is ridiculous angry

What about teaching useful lessons about the real shelf-life of foods so people don't throw perfectly good items away because 'it's past its sell-by date'? We have a huge problem in this country, we're completely out of touch with what we eat and how to buy it, store it and cook it.

I did Home Economics as it was called then - we actually cooked things from scratch. I still do that today and I would be appalled at the idea of buying tomato sauce - one of the easiest things to make - in a jar. And £9? To make a pizza?


onefewernow Tue 14-May-13 09:14:09

I think the food tech teacher who asked how the shopping was meant to be done just wants an easy life.. And I say that as an ex teacher myself, though not in that subject.

How difficult could it be to order a bulk purchase once a term of basic ingredients and things like vanilla essence? I think it would take less time than sorting out the kids who forgot to bring stuff, by far.

Worse, such a system is letting down poor children, especially in these straitened times. And finally, leaving the resulting half to sit and do nothing is not inclusive, which is poor practice .

ElsieOops Tue 14-May-13 09:39:05

I think the school are bonkers asking the kids to bring pre-packed ready grated cheese in.

But even more so, YABU pandering to what they are asking for. I'd just do the ingredients from home as you suggested, just grate your own cheese. Make up a tomato sauce and bung it in a tub to take in.

PatPig Tue 14-May-13 10:03:42

I would make my own 'pizza topper', gently fry up half an onion (non-pre choppped), add can of chopped tomatoes, a squeeze of tomato paste (or tsp sugar if you don't have any tomato paste), tsp of dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano. Cook gently for 20 minutes until no longer runny.

They can eff off with chopped onions and pre-grated cheese, just chop/grate your own and put it in a zip-loc bag.

anklebitersmum Tue 14-May-13 10:26:09

It's not just me. Hoorah grin

Two hour long lessons (three if you include the initial demonstration) to make a pizza. Please send £1 for the base ingredients shock and then provide ingredients pre chopped the next week confused

Mind you this was the same teacher that marked DS down for bringing in a 'real' pineapple. Apparently tinned is best for 'healthy fresh fruit salad'.

I despair, I really do.

DD was told that brown sugar was healthier than white sugar when she had to make a Healthy Fruit crumble. Thankfully oldest DS has missed out on cookerylessons at school, so I havent't had to go throught this with him, Youngest though will have to do them, I am not looking forward to it.

MortifiedAdams Tue 14-May-13 10:46:05

Even more determined now to send dd to my secondary school which doesnt do cookery. Seems like a roght fart on for little or no return (in terms f both food and actual learning).

fuzzpig Tue 14-May-13 11:30:52

Apparently tinned is best for 'healthy fresh fruit salad'.

<bangs head on wall>

Nothing wrong with tinned fruit in juice (NOT syrup, I wonder if the teacher ensured that when listing ingredients?) especially for price but how does one equate fresh with tinned? confused

fuzzpig Tue 14-May-13 11:31:50

I could murder a fresh pineapple right now. <hungry>

anklebitersmum Tue 14-May-13 12:43:59

fuzzpig Nope, said fresh fruit. Bought all fresh. DS was gutted when he was marked down for having real fruit. I was like [wtf] and so double checked the list again to make sure I wasn't having a moment

Not anti tinned fruit with juice myself but DS would have got a better grade in cooking for emptying something out of a tin. confused

and she didn't know how to chop a mango properly..teaching cooking my Aunt Fanny

Remotecontrolduck Tue 14-May-13 13:01:57

Food tech is bloody crap isn't it, it'a compulsory years 7-9 here and then optional for GCSE.

So much potential to teach real life, essential skills and get people to enjoy cooking and preparing fresh food. This would have so, so many benefits to everyone in society.

Instead we have time constraints which mean it isnt possible to cook from scratch properly, ridiculous short cuts which mean the children learn sod all about how to actually cook, and recipes which really, aren't recipes at all. Fruit salad being an example, how about teaching them to make meatballs in sauce or something? And of course, the ridiculous costs.

It makes me angry at how poorly thought out food tech in general seems to be, they might as well not bother tbh.

GinOnTwoWheels Tue 14-May-13 13:18:28

YY Remotecontrolduck.

No DCs but everything I've heard about cooking lessons in schools indicate that it is no longer useful and more about processed food.

Eg, my sister was once complaining that her DD had to make a fruit salad and take in a selection of fruit that meant she had to buy several packs of fruit to take in 5 strawberries, 10 grapes, one kiwi etc to make fruit salad IN MARCH. Teaches nothing about seasonality and not wasting food as they also had the rest of the strawberries, grapes, kiwis and other stuff that I forget and there was only the two of them and not big fruit eaters - also expensive as she was a single parent at the time.

Nothing wrong with fruit salad, but it needs to respect the seasons and would be better if the school supplied the fruit and the parents contributed towards the cost.

There was a government consultation a few years ago about making school cooking lessons more useful - I sent in a long rant about nieces out of season fruit salad, use of processed ingredients and the need for students to learn to cook, but it seems not to have changed anything yet.

People learning how to cook would be so useful as there is a perception that home cooking is more expensive than processed food, which is Just Not True. People being able to cook properly would stop them existing on poor quality processed shite

fuzzpig Tue 14-May-13 13:30:07

OMFG ankle so it actually said fresh... and the teacher thought that meant tinned hmm

Remote/Gin yes that is exactly what pisses me off, the wasted potential. Food lessons, started early and with a varied, mostly practical curriculum, would be BRILLIANT and I really believe it would have an impact on the health of future generations. But as it appears to be done now it is a joke.

fuzzpig Tue 14-May-13 13:34:06

I remember DD doing a term on food in reception last year. They just got asked to each bring in one piece of fruit to make a fruit salad as a class. I thought that was good as parents could choose an apple from a cheap multipack etc if they didn't want to buy something specific.

ryanboy Tue 14-May-13 13:37:28

Bit OT but why do people think spag bol is healthy? Beef mince tomatoes,onions , flour, (usually dried) egg? how

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 14-May-13 13:47:44

Because it is? Mine is cooked from scratch - nice lean minced beef, tomatoes, herbs, pasta!

seeker Tue 14-May-13 13:53:59

What's unhealthy about a good spaghetti bolognaise?

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Tue 14-May-13 14:01:42

I have argued with DD1's school about this til I am blue in the face!

She cooks usually once every 3 weeks and each time it is a ridiculously complicated dish, with very pricey ingredients. It's rare that I am left with change from a tenner after buying these ingredients. If they don't take exactly what is on the list then they get a detention.

At the end of this term, they are having an assesment and have to make a recipe book and cook 8 different recipes at home to photograph for their recipe book, and write the method that they used to cook it. Again, totally fucking obscure dishes, things that we wouldn't eat/want for meals here. It's not even like she's doing it next year either as she's not taken it as a GCSE option. It's all just a waste of time, money and effort.

I've spoken to her Food Tech teacher many a time but she just doesn't seem to 'get' my point. I've suggested cooking more budget recipes but the teacher seems to think that the recipes they cook are budget ones.

Bangs head on brick wall!

fuzzpig Tue 14-May-13 14:07:28

A Spag Bol can be healthy if DCs are shown how to make a really good sauce with loads of tomatoes and extra veg (we put loads in ours, like grated carrot/courgette) drain fat off the mince etc - and that would be something food tech should teach - how to get as much nutrition as possible from simple family food.

NoWayPedro Tue 14-May-13 14:08:31

Some of these home ec teachers are really taking the piss/know nothing about nutrition, food prep and budgeting.

Back in the 90's our home ec teacher was a nutcase but knew about health and nutrition and waste (god forbid you threw any of a pepper away). Hilarious that one day we saw her chuffing a load of fags in the staff room grin

No-ones perfect though eh smile

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Tue 14-May-13 14:32:28

The thing that gets me with DD's food tech lessons is the sheer random-ness of the recipes they have to cook:

Cherry gateaux (cost a fortune in ingredients)
A weird potato cake thing
Spaghetti bolognaise (would have been fine had they been allowed to refrigerate it after cooking, but they weren't as an assessment had gone on in another year group and they needed the fridges to store their work)
A strange pudding that required the purchasing of ready made meringue nests for DD to bash up or the topping of the pudding.

ChunkyPickle Tue 14-May-13 14:37:05

They let the kids at DS (2.5)'s playgroup chop slice the fruit at snack time for goodness sake!

And he's is perfectly capable of making the kind of pizza where you just scatter the ingredients from pre-prepared bowls (although a fair bit gets diverted straight to his mouth)..

Mind you, my home tech was similar 20 years ago - I remember having to 'design a sandwich' and make breakfast (from a finite list of ingredients - cold - nothing cooked).

theroseofwait Tue 14-May-13 14:37:59

teacher told them to stick then in the oven for 5 minutes when they got home!! WTF!!!

I've done this many a time and sent things home still in baking trays - what else do you expect us to do when we have the next class waiting at the door to come in? We can't just leave things in the oven as we need them for the next class. . . .

And FWIW, I don't want an 'easy life' but I'm sure that if I asked an English teacher to source (in their own time,) pay for (and then have to claim the money back) and transport to school several sets of new books a week they'd just laugh at me. Why should Food teachers have to do it?

And as for And finally, leaving the resulting half to sit and do nothing is not inclusive, which is poor practice .

This happened to me just this morning, they weren't doing nothing, I set them a design task, but you must, must, must concentrate on the kids doing practical from a H and S point of view and quite often the ones not cooking are off task. We've even consulted the team at our local LEA for an answer to this but the D and T advisor just shrugged his shoulders and said 'what can you do?'

If parents really want us to teach simple home cooking then we need a, some pressure to get rid of Food Tech, Catering and all it's other forms and go back to Home Economics and b, them to teach their kids basic skills like using an oven, washing up and chopping before they hit secondary school. If we could start at a fairly sensible point in terms of skills and not have to fanny around doing things my four year old could do (and I do realise that I'm probably preaching to the converted on this thread) then we might have a fighting chance!

ChunkyPickle Tue 14-May-13 14:43:54

theroseofwait - I do see your point, but I teachers of other subjects that I know do do that - do make sure that they have spares of anything that might be needed for a lesson, do spend the time researching/sourcing goodness knows what for lessons (and sometimes a darn site more obscure than a tin of tomatos!)

If you had all the ingredients, and doled them out to each student, then every student would be sure to have the right basics, so no-one would be sat out, no-one would be trying to work with the wrong stuff, it would all be consistent which would surely be easier than trying to work with half a class that have forgotten some or all of their ingredients, or brought the wrong ones.

theroseofwait Tue 14-May-13 15:23:59

But it's not just a tin of tomatoes though, is it - it's 25, times how many times I'm doing it that week, plus 6 kg of mince and 25 peppers, 150 mushrooms etc times how many times I'm doing it that week, and then say I'm doing Fairy Cakes with my four year 7 classes, that's 10 kilos of flour, sugar and margarine and 200 eggs, and so on for 22 periods a week. That I have to buy, pay for out of my own money initially, carry to school, carry up to my room, store, weigh out, distribute, collect money for when I should be planning, marking and feeding back to kids. Get real . . .

DameFanny Tue 14-May-13 15:27:15

After reading through all this, I'm more than ever determined that DS will get a good schooling in cooking etc as soon as he's tall enough to use the hob safely. I've already told him that in another 4 inches he's going to learn one new thing a week, which he'll then be doing on his own the following week. I'm planning on starting with things like a decent roux for cheese sauce, so he can get used to doing it before someone tells him it's supposed to be hard...

DameFanny Tue 14-May-13 15:29:20

Therose - but can't the school organise the budget for you, so you just need to put in an order online to whichever supermarket?

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Tue 14-May-13 15:29:53

I can totally see why it wouldn't be a viable option for the teachers to supply the ingredients.

I am more than happy to send ingredients in with my daughter, but what I do resent is the assumption from the school that a) we all have the money for ridiculous ingredients and b) we all have the time to go and source them!

If my DD was cooking normal, useful, family recipes that use storecupboard ingredients plus other basics I wouldn't complain at all.

ChunkyPickle Tue 14-May-13 15:37:10

Yes, if organised like that, it absolutely is an unmanageable hassle (although, I would still find the individual crisises possibly as stressful on a day to day basis)

I don't have the answer - but other schools do it - perhaps with collaboration from the office, the catering staff, local suppliers, parent helpers etc.

I don't think that the problem is unsolvable, and I don't think that throwing hands up in the air and saying that we all just have to put up with it rather than try and find a better way is particularly helpful.

GinOnTwoWheels Tue 14-May-13 15:42:19

therose, think about how many nectar points you could rack up though!

OK, fair enough the home ec teacher shouldn't be expected to go out and shop for ingredients but I see no reason why the school can't order in the storecupboard ingredients where only a small bit of a pack is needed per student.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Tue 14-May-13 15:45:55

I agree, Gin; things like herbs and spices, different types of vinegar and syrups, those kinds of things that are difficult to find (if you live in a rural town as I do) and expensive to buy, and then end up wasted once a small amount has been used in the lesson

DS's school provides all the ingredients and loans the students a tupperware box for the duration. He has made chilli con carne, fruit salad, chicken goujons and wedge potatoes....can't remember the rest! But I was impressed.

pigletmania Tue 14-May-13 15:50:26

Yanbu at all shocking. I made pizza from scratch, Noway did it cost £9 shock. The teacher sounds lazy (ready grated cheese and ready chopped onions). I most certainly would have sent in those in a grated and chopped at home in a cool bag with a cooler thingy. With a 60p jar of pasta sauce, and a packet of bread flour and packet of yeast, from my cupboard, and tough shit if te school protest I'm shrt of money, £9 is a hell of a lot for one meal

theroseofwait Tue 14-May-13 15:55:00

DameFanny - no regarding the budget. I did manage it a couple of times but it's got something to do with the county's finance department not recognising any of the supermarkets as approved suppliers, and when I did do it I paid with a school debit card, they have now been withdrawn due to too much fraud!!!!

ChunkyPickle - yes, other schools do manage. They have a full time food technician who's paid to shop, weigh, store manage etc. We've been asking for one for nine years to my knowledge, and it was the same story at the school I was in before that. It's all down to cost, which again is why we can't just have spare ingredients to give to kids who we know can barely afford to eat as it is. We've had our budget cut down by 40% this year with more to follow and the hardship fund was the first thing to go. This is the first year in my entire career where I've had to stand in front of kids and advise them not to pick my subject if they think money may be an issue at home. sad

theroseofwait Tue 14-May-13 15:58:14

The teacher sounds lazy (ready grated cheese and ready chopped onions).

No, we only have effectively 50 minutes to make something edible with 20 odd kids of varying skill. Grating cheese, along with weighing out ingredients, really can be done at home with very little difference to learning outcomes.

'Lazy' and 'Food Teacher' are, on the whole, mutually exclusive. angry

ChunkyPickle Tue 14-May-13 15:58:21

theroseofwait - good grief - and they say that they're prioritising schools and healthy eating..

theroseofwait Tue 14-May-13 16:00:44

Gin - yes, my Tesco points are the only silver lining for the shopping I do!! We do, on the whole, manage herbs and spices and for example today I made lemon curd with Year 8 so I bought in the cornflour as they only needed a dessert spoon each.

Why bother?
Why not just accept that school and cookery do not equate?

pigletmania Tue 14-May-13 16:06:02

Than students should be able to bring cheese that they ave already grated and onions tat tey have chopped at home. What if te students family are skint and cannot afford those ingredients. I would just bring tem in with te child

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Tue 14-May-13 16:15:33

At my DD's school all ingredients have to be prepared before the lesson, ie cheese grated, eggs separated, flour weighed out, or they get a detention!

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Tue 14-May-13 16:15:54

Which is a bit of a ball ache on a cookery day morning when DD has forgotten the night before to sort her ingredients out!

anklebitersmum Tue 14-May-13 16:21:48

School and home economics always used to equate and in the current economic climate it should be made to equate in my opinion.

I learnt some invaluable kitchen skills from my year 1 & 2 (now year 7 & 8) home ec teacher. We did all sorts, from cottage pie upwards and all from scratch.
Used to have an ingredients and method lesson where we did which food groups ingredients were in, nutritional value etc etc and wrote up the required ingredients & method in our books for the next week.

The next week was bring in ingredients (unchopped) and make in the hour and a half lesson.

T'was basic cooking with standard ingredients.

Surely the problem here is that the schools aren't providing adequate support for food tech. No one expects the science teachers to pop out and buy the chemicals for their practicals; they have technicians for that. It seems utterly ridiculous that the school can't arrange for someone to have responsibility for online ordering (coming straight from the school's money - no teacher should be putting themselves out of pocket and claiming it back) of the stuff needed for each week's practicals (and they should have adequate storage for this stuff). The teachers could submit their lists of requirements in advance and everything would be fine. Indeed, part of the planning activities for the kids could involve preparing the list of required ingredients to be submitted.

It would mean that 25 parents don't have to go out and buy a whole set of ingredients for their children to use hardly any of. It's much cheaper to buy stuff that gets used all the time in bulk. You can get the kids to supply the stupid extras they decide to add to make their individual abomination creation.

Although, sharing eggs is still crap. You never get half. And one person ends up with all white.

Badvoc Tue 14-May-13 16:28:48 could probably get those at waitrose linerunner!smile

Plomino Tue 14-May-13 16:34:07

This is the one subject that makes my blood boil . In the end I teamed up with another classmates mum, and we divided the recipe up between us so our respective DS's took in half the ingredients each .

But then my opinion of the Food Tech teacher went rapidly downhill the day that my son got a telling off for tasting the food . If he'd been double dipping I would have understood , but no . How the bloody hell can you tell if the dish is right , unless you taste it ? Apparently not . Apparently it just needs to look right . No matter that its got more salt in it than the Mediterrranean .

fuzzpig Tue 14-May-13 16:40:44

This is the first year in my entire career where I've had to stand in front of kids and advise them not to pick my subject if they think money may be an issue at home.

God that is really sad sad

I think asking students to prepare basic ingredients at home is preferable by far to insisting on buying ready prepared versions. Apart from being cheaper, it would also be a good way to introduce food preparation in the home, which in some homes may not actually happen - so if the child has to do it to avoid detention, it will get done, and maybe show a few parents that it's easier than they thought?

I don't remember learning anything about cooking from food tech at school. We made a baked egg custard hmm and fruit salad, scones and mushrooms on toast. That's all that comes to mind. My food tech teacher was a cow (sorry but she really, really was)

What I did learn was what order to wash up in.

Mind you textiles was as bad. I learnt how to use a twin tub washing machine hmm in 1990!

foodtech Tue 14-May-13 16:51:44

Some schools do proper Home Economics though. We certainly do. We cook healthy balanced meals and teach pupils about budgeting and they do the practical not us. It isn't easy in 50 minutes granted but it can be done. We also do not have a full time technician although it is within out head of departments remit to do the shopping (not all schools have this though if a faculty)

I do think the main problem in England is the class sizes. We have a maximum of 20 for practical lessons which makes life easier. Pupils love our subject and our numbers are very high (5 FT staff in a school of 1100) it just needs good management and a high regard for the subject as a whole.

Plus I certainly do know my subject although that's what happens when you need a subject specific degree to teach plus a post grad. We have had English food tech teachers who need to re train to teach Home Economics in Scotland as they do not have the knowledge.

theroseofwait Tue 14-May-13 16:55:43

Surely the problem here is that the schools aren't providing adequate support for food tech.

That is the problem in a nutshell.

foodtech - hello!! We've met on these thread before and I'm still plotting my escape North!!

foodtech Tue 14-May-13 17:02:40

We would love to have you. All these teachers retiring and no one coming out. Home Economics is brilliant if taught correctly with the correct supportive management.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Tue 14-May-13 17:04:41

is it worth putting a call out on the school website or via the newsletter or asking teacher to send out to home e-mails to see if any other parents would like to join a group to coordinate the 'sourcing' of ingredients so you don't have to buy a full size for each session when sharing would give two or three a 'portion'?

ModreB Tue 14-May-13 17:40:55

I am now beyond rage. angry angry angry angry

Food tech teacher was not in work. Replacement teacher took so long to decide whether to actually cook the pizza or not, going over the theory, they had 15 minutes left at the end of the lesson.

DS3 refused to make a pizza in 15 minutes, got a lunchtime detention, which is another fight on the horizon, so I come home to a furious 13 year old, bashing pizza dough in the kitchen, declaring that if the school are so stupid, he'll make the pizza himself grin

What result do you think if I bill the school for the wasted ingredients?

HamletsSister Tue 14-May-13 18:03:55

Theroseofwait - massive shortage of HE teachers in Scotland. Come up - you would be very welcome! Ours is due to retire in the next year or so. All ingredients supplied by the school and sourced from the local Co-OP. tiny class sizes!

itsonlyapapermoon Wed 15-May-13 04:04:18

When I was at school (erm...15 years ago lol) we paid a levy at the start of the year that covered the cost of food tech. All the ingredients were laid on the tables ready for us to get cracking and we always had Food Tech over a double period so we had plenty of time for the prac and the accompanying bookwork as well. This was in Australia though.

Rosa Wed 15-May-13 06:12:55

Blimey £9 for a pizza .. I regularly make and doing a mental calculation a basic probably costs about £3 to make .... Then yes it depends on the toppings . Your son was right 15 mins is not enough time.....

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