Cost of food technology cooking ingredients(66 Posts)
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.
I am 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!
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!
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.
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!
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?
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.
Way way back in the dim and distant past when I did 'domestic science' at grammar school we started by making:
blancmange (yes really, from a packet and someone lost points as theirs was still lumpy and not mixed right-not me!)
triple decker sandwiches (how I thought these were posh)
we went onto:
we finished in the fifth form with:
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 ...
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