J-P Wooding: Cooking up a problem for our children

What culinary skills will we be passing on to our children, wonders J-P
What culinary skills will we be passing on to our children, wonders J-P

I remember my parents watching Patrick’s Pantry on ITV; the signature tune sticks in my head more than anything else to be honest.

I also remember Delia Smith’s popularity rising like a well-baked cake.

Aside from the Food and Drink programme proposing that, as I became old enough to enjoy wine, I may be able to taste the farmer’s boots that harvested the small fruits, I can’t recall there being the glut of cookery programmes that present themselves today.

I enjoy watching the more basic programmes such as Jamie Oliver’s 30 (bit longer) minute meals and Nigella Lawson; I find that they’re the sort of meals you can try at home without too much fuss.

I’ve also been using an excellent book, which was a gift from my children, by Barry Lewis.

Starting with a poached egg his YouTube channel has grown exponentially and with good reason, it’s all simple.

I wonder though if there are now too many cookery-based programmes on the TV, in particular the competition-based ones. Undoubtedly, they are immensely popular; accusations of cake sabotage tainted the taste of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood’s Bake Off show and I’ve seen Master Chef contestants’ salty tears fall upon their still-raw prawns as John Torode and Gregg Wallace’s eyes bore into the poor victim.

Are they turning us into a nation of Master Chefs? I love cooking and cannot understand how it is that a lot of adults can’t cook. Not “Don’t want to cook,” but “Can’t cook.”

When I was at school we certainly didn’t have in-depth lectures from Gordon Ramsay, we were taught the simple basics such as mashed and jacket potatoes; essential basics that are missing for many it seems.

I say this because, according to statistics, obesity is worse than ever.

In the days of Delia and Patrick fast-food options and quick-cook meals weren’t as widely used in the nation’s kitchens and although we have many educational means to cook simple, healthy meals, the problems are worse.

We don’t all want to be Master Chefs, but we should be able to cook a simple dish.

Perhaps if the TV production companies insist on carrying on with competitive cookery programmes, they could take average Joes (and Janes), who can’t cook, and educate them to a stage whereby they could make a few basic meals from scratch. That way children may have a chance when they become adults; if they’ve been fed microwave meals and pizza all their lives, they won’t have anything to pass on to the next generation.

Read more from J-P here.