If there’s going to be a school curriculum that incorporates cookery classes for year one and two pupils, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that the school is based in Delia Smith’s neck of the woods in Norfolk.
In an age where many young families have literally no idea how to cook from fresh ingredients after a generation has been subjected to ‘healthy’ ready meals, this can only be good news for the future of the country. And that’s not being over dramatic; obesity in the young and ignorance of culinary and nutritional values is a a growing problem that, if not addressed now, will have serious implications for future generations.
So why has this school, namely Costessey Infant School, accepted the gauntlet of allowing youngsters into the kitchen, then additionally inviting the parents along afterwards to sample what their little darlings have learnt in the cookery classes?
Let’s Get Cooking Lottery funding kick-started the project
Wednesday mornings at the school have never been the same since, in 2008, the school accepted National Lottery funding as part of the “Let’s Get Cooking” project in an attempt to correct the well-publicised deviance from the straight and narrow of children’s diets. But it’s not only the youngsters at school who benefit from the cookery courses.
According to head teacher Rosemary Kett, the cooking lessons undertaken by the pupils have a knock-on effect upon the parents, who may or may not fall into the category as outlined above. And it seems to be having the desired effect. The school also runs cookery classes after school hours, which are equally as popular and places are filled very quickly. As no one likes remembering what they learn at school, Costessey has also got its own cook book featuring many of the recipes that make up the cookery classes.
Over the four years that the classes have been running, hundreds of pupils have benefited from the experience of Mrs Kett and volunteers like Jill Lamb who regularly help out, indeed, like a lamb to the slaughter one would think. But not so.
As well as learning the basics of cooking and table manners it would appear that the lessons learnt are carried forth into junior school, too. Last year, Costessey Juniors won the Norfolk Healthy Schools award before this year achieving the national standard of the same accolade. Indeed, even if parents are unsure of what constitutes a healthy packed lunch, there are links to such information on their website, namely www.eatwell.gov.uk and www.food.gov.uk.
As all the above parties involved from Colman’s country are eager to make healthy eating such a large part of growing up, I suppose you could say they’re as keen as mustard. Mmm, let’s hope my webmaster doesn’t send me a dijon letter after that little classic, eh?