Cost of food technology cooking ingredients

(66 Posts)
HerLordship Thu 07-Mar-13 21:10:51

My eldest DD is 14, and is in year 9 at school. She has food technology lessons and cooks on average every other week. I'm all for kids learning cooking skills, but I am getting completely aghast at the sheer cost of ingredients required for recipes.

Tomorrow she has an assessment and is required to make some sort of cake/gateau for which the recipe has been supplied. It involves all kinds of obscure things that we don't have in our cupboards and fridge. DH has just been to Asda to get the ingredients and spent way over a tenner. The quantities required are always enormous too; 800g of mince for a lasagne (I use 250g when I make a lasagne to feed 5 of us, and bulk it out). Whole pints of milk. Big tubs of cream. 800g of chocolate chips. It's not as if the food is particulary edible either; food tech is first thing on a Friday. There is a fridge but it's not big enough for everyone's cooking and sometimes DD lugs it round with her all day. Plus I'm not keen on eating it anyway, as I remember the state of our home ec classroom at school and lack of general cooking hygiene.

IMO children should be taught to cook basics, on a budget. Simple things such as a victoria sponge, scrambled egg on toast, roast potatoes, quiche etc. Things that are staples of an everyday family diet. Not fancy things that have obscure ingredients and cost (and waste) an absolute fortune.

I am thinking of speaking to the food tech teacher about it, as it's costing £10ish per time. We're lucky we can afford it, but I'm assuming if someone is living on a very tight food budget and extra tenner per week or two is going to overstretch them. And it's the principle of the thing too. Kids get a detention too if they don't take all ingredients. DD once got a detention as she didn't take an ingredient but it was a really really bizarre spice and I couldn't find it anywhere so I suggested she substituted it, but no it wasn't good enough. Also if I'd have sent her with, say 500g of minced beef for lasagne, she would have got a detention as it's 800g that was required. I could make about 2 nights' worth of meals with 800g!!

I'm probably being tight, and mean spirited, but it's starting to make me quite resentful. And to top it off DD doesn't even like cooking; she hates it. It just feels like a waste.

colditz Sat 23-Mar-13 14:50:31

Did this ever get resolved?

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Mar-13 14:36:51

DS and I look at what the recipe is and decide how much to take in.
If the teacher wants more she can provide.
And when its odd ingredients I got him to text round his class and each family bought a packet of one of them and they divided it up in class ...

ibizagirl Sat 23-Mar-13 08:25:31

Dd did cooking in year 7 and 8 and it was awful. Apart from the cost (dd is on free meals and i asked whether there was any support for costs and was told no) there were three children to a cooker and the food was vile as it was never cooked properly. Everything was dumped apart from some bread rolls which were okish. One assessment was to make scones apart from plain scones. Dd took some chopped nuts and choc chips. She was told at the assessment that she couldn't use the nuts "in case someone is allergic". Great. The children were not told this beforehand. There was a horrible bolognese that she made. It had carrots in and something else i can't remember which i wouldn't use and that was vile too. Its always made in the morning too and nowhere to keep it cold. Can't see the point of it myself unless they do traditional cooking or the basics. Dd said some couldn't even weigh the stuff out properly, although they were told to take stuff ready weighed.

Everhopeful Wed 20-Mar-13 18:28:34

Good luck from here too - am dreading the thought now of DD doing food tech and I was really looking forward to her learning how to cook...this is NOT reasonable!

Fredstheteds Mon 18-Mar-13 22:38:59

Well I must be an very considerate food tech teacher!

I would never.... Use 700g of meat ( enough for a small army), 800g of chocolate drops ( how much....)

I buy in anything usual such as yeast/ strong bread flour, fajita spice and wraps.... Vanilla, oil, vinegar/ sauces etc.

Would never insist on strawberries for fruit salad..... Or bring in ice cream...

Kids cook a wide variation if dishes.... Pasta/ fajitas/ lasagne etc. GCSE have an allowance for strange ingredients and this year girls who came o parents evening had their ingredients paid for.... Great sea bass!

Brownies etc can be made with cocoa powder etc.

If I did detention for ingredients not weighed out I would have thousands in !

Parents we did appreciate your efforts.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 10-Mar-13 08:25:10

My DDs have to provide their own ingredients, but they are pretty basic. They will either measure out at home (I don't do this for them), or at school, and bring home whatever is left. I think they spend about £3 on average on what they take into school (although I do encourage them to get BOGOFs, so the supermarket bill can be a lot more) - they go shopping for the ingredients as it's all part of the learning. If they are making their own two-course meal, they are given a £5 upper limit.

They cook in every lesson for half a year, and learn techniques, rather than nutrition or presentation. We always eat what they bring home. I look forward to it as it means I don't have to cook!

These lessons are called Home Economics and very similar to what I did at school over 30 years ago, right down to the wicker basket and striped apron.

sashh Sun 10-Mar-13 05:07:05

I have very little good to say about my school but.....

The teachers (not just domestic science, as it was then) would buy the dish from the pupil making it.

Sometimes the teacher would bring in ingredients, sometimes the pupil provided them and the teacher would pay for the cost.

Said teacher then got to take whatever it was home.

The only time the school bulk bought was when we made Christmas cake (in September). I had to keep it hidden from my brother because we had to take it back for icing in December.

Oh and we couldn't bring things in a bag - we had to have a basket with a cover.

Bunbaker Sat 09-Mar-13 23:22:19

The first thing we cooked in domestic science in the first year at high school was breakfast, we also did rock cakes, blancmange, raspberry buns, bread and butter pudding, crumble and numerous other things. I took O level and we had to do several practice assignments. Then it did get expensive because we were cooking 5 dishes in two and a half hours. Balancing them on the bus home was pretty difficult as my parents didn't own a car.

GemmaTeller Sat 09-Mar-13 22:49:03

Way way back in the dim and distant past when I did 'domestic science' at grammar school we started by making:

rock cakes
blancmange (yes really, from a packet and someone lost points as theirs was still lumpy and not mixed right-not me!)
victoria sponge
triple decker sandwiches (how I thought these were posh)

we went onto:
meat pie
shepherds pie
gateau
trifle

we finished in the fifth form with:
chutney
jam
christmas cake made from scratch with royal icing (mine was so rock hard my mum had to turn it upside down and scoop the cake out)

My mum rang in sick for me the week we had to take a whole fish in and scale and gut it before cooking it (boak)

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 22:27:05

Oh! I killed the thread. Sorry!

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 14:41:12

My DH is Head of Technology and I asked him what his school do. In Yr7 & Yr8, children contribute £10 per old term (so £30 a year) and the school buys in all the ingredients. They also mostly cook single portions, so no lugging a family meal in their bags all day. The department also has 5 fridges, so everyone's food is stored safely.
From Year 9 onwards, those doing GSCE Food & Nutrition pay £10 per new term (£60 a year). Two thirds of lessons are on nutrition etc, and one third are cooking practicals.
The school is in quite a deprived area (40% are free school meals) and those families on FSM don't have to contribute at all to Food Tech costs as it is met out of pupil premium.

princesssugar, DH wants to know if you want a job? He's got a vacancy coming up and likes your posts!

Tinuviel Sat 09-Mar-13 14:12:16

As secondary teacher, cooking is a nightmare!! I had a pupil many years ago asked if he could leave a container of fruit salad in my cupboard. He didn't collect it and as I didn't use said cupboard very often, we both forgot about it!! More recently I ended up with golden syrup over my classroom because it 'leaked'. Pupil missed part of lesson because it needed cleaning up straightaway. At ours they mostly provide the ingredients but apparently they have to take 'extras' in themselves. I did suggest that syrup was probably not a good choice to carry (probably upside down) in a bag.

However, I do agree that it is a very important subject but don't think much of the amount of 'folder work' they have to do in proportion to the amount of time they spend actually cooking.

crazycarol Fri 08-Mar-13 21:01:13

I must be really lucky. DDs school charge £30 per year for all ingredients except for her exam which she had to provide all the ingredients. Sometimes she eats the item for her lunch [relief] but other times she brings it home for us to share. This weeks offering was a bakewell tart. When I explained that I coulddn't eat it due to the almonds, she said "Oh its alright we aren't allowed to put nuts in it due to nut allergies" Well it isn't a bakewell tart then is it?

Whathaveiforgottentoday Fri 08-Mar-13 19:57:54

Bun baker, we will be cooking in science club next week as we'll be making ice cream. Happy for home economics to move into science!

prettybird Fri 08-Mar-13 19:32:54

Sorry - just to clarify, by "session" I meant block of Home Ec classes. It's not quite a term, as they alternate with Technical Drawing, about 8 weeks. I think over the year they will have three sessions of Home Ec - but it may just be two. Since August, I have paid £20 in total.

I am shock at some of these!

DD has cooked cheese and tomato tartlets, pasties, iced buns (where they learned to make bread dough), all things that are useful to know. By far the most expensive was pork and apricot burgers - they cost around £8 but as her cookery lesson was the last lesson of the day, she brought them home still hot and we had them for tea. They were fab! grin

If the school came up with some ridiculously expensive dish that would end up in the bin, I think there'd be a mass protest!

Blu Fri 08-Mar-13 16:31:56

DS's ingredients for next week include '2 scoops of ice cream'.
Any suggestions as to how I send that in?

Naoko Fri 08-Mar-13 16:27:14

800g chocolate chips?! I'm an enthusiastic baker, I bake cakes that work out quite expensively sometimes (for fun. I consider it a leisure expense), and I have never seen anything that required quite that many chocolate chips, or indeed that much chocolate, unless it was for an absolutely enormous cake. Don't have any cherry syrup lying about the place either.

It's madness. I bet they're wanting the chocolate chips for melting too, rather than stirring into batter (so they'll keep their shape), in which case there is really no excuse for not using bars of chocolate instead, which would be much cheaper. Alright, chips melt more evenly, but that's not a good enough excuse for the additional expense. If I were making a cake for a special occasion, I'd spring for high quality cooking chocolate, and maybe for the chips instead of bars. A school food tech lesson? Not a chance.

Bunbaker Fri 08-Mar-13 16:21:19

"and all we have to do is pay £10 towards the cost of ingredients per session"

£10 per lession shock. Are they taking the mick? When DD made apple crumble she took in the apple and had to pay 60p for the other ingredients.

hippoCritt Fri 08-Mar-13 16:12:52

I think you should email a request to speak to teacher by x day and refer to what you have been told today, how rude!

princesssugar Fri 08-Mar-13 16:05:58

Herlordship - the teacher is too busy??!? I didnt realise i could get away with that as an excuse! Damn it all these years of staying till 5 to speak to parents. Seriously though that seems a bit rude to me.

The thai curry takes the piss, i think i said that at the time. Mental. Admittedly i work in a difficult area and i would get laughed at if i sent home a list including thai curry paste. We only ask kids to bring in optionals e.g. Chocolate if we are doing cakes or biscuits, chicken if we are doing veg curry.even then i have had a parent complain because her daughter asked her for a banana " what do i want to buy bananas for?"

I think i need to change schools..giving pupils a list of ingredients and having them bring it in would be lovely.......

nickstmoritz Fri 08-Mar-13 13:43:35

Must admit I recently binned DD2s maccaroni cheese which had been decanted into a plastic box and lugged around all day..yuk! As they were making it before lunch why not then eat it for lunch straight away while it was hot? I agree with the cost of ingredients sometimes being silly too but just as annoying - DD1s school food tech lessons were always copying notes on hygiene off the board because the teacher was busy and her one practical involved bringing in a ready meal to heat up in a microwave. Good grief!

HerLordship Fri 08-Mar-13 12:23:35

Theas, that's ridiculous about the Thai curry. I think schools think we are made of money

I will be glad when DD is in year 10 and doesn't have to take part in cookery lessons again.

HerLordship Fri 08-Mar-13 12:22:23

School phoned back earlier, well the receptionist did, and said the teacher will be too busy to speak to me today but I can try to call her on Monday if I want to. Looks like it'll be that then.

Theas18 Fri 08-Mar-13 12:20:21

Posted exact same thread ? in SEptember about a bloody Thai chicken curry that cost £12 for ingredients . Apparently they "could hae organised to share" but DD didn't realise this ( she's a bit of an control freak and I bet she didn't want to risk her cookery on someone else getting the stuff either LOL- It has failed before).

THat was £12 for chicken breasts/thai paste/coconut milk/fine beans/spring onions etc and made a " curry" that DD2 and DS ate as a snack angry

that's knocking on for 1/5 of my usual super market week shop money!

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