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What happened to basic food skills in school

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
When i was in secondary school, we had food tech... basically, it was about making sure that kids starting to experiment cooking their own food, dont kill/burn/cut/poison themselves

simple things, how hot to cook meat, some basic knife handling skills, baking bread and cakes, biscuits..

simple things...

people at work, the customers that is... have no basic recognition skills, cant tell turkey from chicken, even when its a whole turkey crown sitting all of 15 inches high right infront of them (to be carved by moi) and they still ask for chicken.

or they mistake the lamb (which is still pink i might add) for pork... would you eat pork that looked medium rare? or the beef (a great big 7 kilo rump joint) for lamb... have you ever seen a lamb joint that big... or that shape!?>!?

they mistake pork for gammon and gammon for pork... well ... if the pork is pink, it is poision... the 3 p's i leared in school...

pink pork= poison

it makes no sense to me why people dont know these things... things that seem so obvious to me.
post #2 of 18
I am in culinary school in Georgia, US. A little while back I was making meatballs from ground turkey and I told a "colleague" that the recipe called for ground chicken but preferred turkey because it was meatier. His reply was:
'Well, a course turkey's got more meat, they're like twice the size of chickens!"
Not exactly the same as your situation, but I feel your pain.
"'Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers"
-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
"'Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers"
-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
post #3 of 18
I prefer pink pork. Pink pork is perfect. Please pull the pork at 130 degrees. The supposed danger of undercooked pork doesn't exist anymore. You are in much greater danger of getting killed in your car on the way to the restaurant than getting sick from pork. Freezing pork to -4 for three days kills larval trichinosis. An average of 12 cases a year are reported in the U.S., and those are mainly from eating wild game and home raised pigs fed meat scrap and garbage. So, kick up your feet and free yourself from the fear of fabulous farm raised filets of free range pork. Alliteration is cool.
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!
post #4 of 18
Trichinosis is also killed at a much lower temperature than either salmonella or e coli 0157:H7. 144 F or 62 C will do it.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
post #5 of 18
seraphim, in response to your original question, at least in my little corner of the world, programs such as home ec or family consumer skills have fallen by the wayside because of a little thing called No child left behind.

Because of this policy, distribution of federal and state money is very dependent upon schools being accreditated. And in my county, one of the poorest in Virginia, the emphasis is getting the children to pass the state's standards of learning tests in their core subjects (english, science, math and social studies) as mandated by the no child left behind policy. Our curriculum is pared down and dumbed down to teach what are consided only essential knowledge in the core subjects. Very little enrichment goes on in the core subjects. Also, There is very little money left to fund non-sol subjects - those subjects include foreign languages, the fine arts, music, gifted, technical, home ec etc. - you get the picture. According to current federal education policies these subjects aren't factored into school accreditation so schools, at least ours, don't place importance in these programs. For example, the middle school band programs are allocated $300 a year to operate. And I've seen the high school, that my boys attend, foreign language department dwindle from an offering of 4 languages to two because teachers aren't replaced when they leave.

From what I've seen in the classroom, children aren't retaining knowledge learned from one year to the next. They learn what's needed to pass the test and then it's gone. We are turning out a generation of excellent test takers. They are being inadequately trained to cope in the real world. It's going to be a rude awakening when they realize life isn't a multiple choice test.

I'll pack up my soap box now.
post #6 of 18
How long ago was it that you learned THAT?

Not any more. Pork is being raised differently, and much more carefully. I cook pork to an internal temp of 145 degrees F. It continues to cook after it's off the heat, and sometimes does have a little pinkish tone at the center, but it's cooked through, and still incredibly juicy.
post #7 of 18
Heh heh. :) Now now.... ;)
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
how long ago did i learn about pink pork? um... my nan taught me alot about cooking... my mom learned from her... thing is in england the laws are so strict about what temperature i can serve meat at... if i get it out any less than 75 C internal temp im risking a lot of trouble...

nay brother, i say get back up there

i agree completely... the whole idea of revision repulses me... if i had to spend a month before hand to prepare for every situation... id shoot myself right now and declare myself useless (obviously in a note.... id be dead of course ;))

i was helping a young lad (the managers son) with his homework the other day as it was a slow day and i was ahead on my cleaning.

i gave him everything he needed to answer the question... basically it was about the easter week he had 3 lines to write and there were 2 lines already written... essentially he had to expand on them to show he understood the timeline.

he was given, "jesus rode into jerusalem on a donkey" and i told him "the people put palm leaves onto the path so that the donkey could walk on them, its kind of like how we put a red carpet out for important people"

and 3 guesses what he said.... "so what shall i write" and on of the FOH managers fed it to him word by word, even spelling them (what i considered easy words as well!)

it annoyed me so much... and the no child left behind strategy is a good one, but perhaps misplanned... infact i sometimes wonder wether the american government knows what its doing... perhaps you would all be better taking education into your own hands.

the other thing that annoys me (and i feel perhaps this should get moved to the non food topic now as i feel we are not just drifting but have our sails in the wrong wind and are speeding away from food) is the stupid length of summer vacation... who needs 8 weeks holiday... i say 1 or 2 max! else you forget in september what you learned in june.... and that wouldnt be so bad if people were taught rather than how to remember the answer, instead how to calculate the answer from the things you can see and remember.

im ranting now, and its something i feel strongly about so i wont post anymore lest i say something i regret... all i know is my son will be doing make up lessons with me during the summer holidays as clearly the schooling system cant be bothered to cater for them... the teachers dont really need the 8 weeks... no one does... so why is it done this way? (in fact i may write to the mp in charge of education to ask exactly why this is done this way... its detrimental to the development of children, and i reckon adds 2 to 3 years onto the school leaving age due to forgetfullness)
post #9 of 18
This discussion could go either way here; but, don't y'all use basic math skills such as adding, subtracting, multiplication and division along with fractions, ratios, proportions, percentages and estimation in your workplace? Those are very basic math skills you learned in school. What I'm seeing through my working with children, a great many of them don't have these basic math skills memorized. All they want to do is whip out that all mighty calculator and crunch numbers. I amazed a small group of them the other week when I got the answer to a simple multiplication question faster by doing it mentally than they did using a calculator (problem was 11 times 13). When I tried to explain how I did it without pencil and paper or a calculator, all I got was blank stares - this is 8th graders here that I'm speaking about - they just didn't comprehend. I feel calculators should be banned from elementary schools amd allowed very limited use in middle schools. There's nothing wrong with learning the basics by rote. That way they stay with you a lifetime and someday in the workplace they'll need to know how to do some sort of math but won't be able to because that calculator hasn't been been surgically attached to their body.

I'm sure you use biology and chemistry in the workplace also. look at the other disscussion in this thread regarding the doness of pork, that's basic biology. Along with understanding how acids, proteins and bases interact. And I know y'all deal with various chemical reations every day. Teamwork and leadership skills are learned through school activities such as sports, band and chorus. These programs are in danger of being cut from out curriculum because of budget constraints.

This is a bit more off topic, but this is how I handled summer breaks with my children. Monday through Friday, for about 15 minutes a day, we reviewed math and english skills they had learned from the previous year. I wouldn't teach anything new. For example, when they graduated third grade, the summer between third and fourth, we'd review 3rd grade reading and math but I wouldn't teach them 4th grade level skills. This worked for us.

Historically, our education system grew up around our agricultural society. That's why alot of schools would end in May and start-up in September and account for the long summer break. We still follow this pattern today because alot of communites depend on the tourist industry which follows this rhythm. Where I live, we still have kids loose time in school, in the spring, because they are needed to help with planting and in the fall when crops are harvested.

Oh, I learned how to cook pork in the 60's. Though I'll cook it pinkish now and follow current temp. guidelines, I still do a mental cringe when I first cut into a chop and see a pinkish hue and lots of juices running all over my plate. :)
post #10 of 18
Getting back to the original question...

Actually I think cooking schools are making an effort to teach the basics. However the general public has slid downhill a long way on cooking skills and related subjects like home canning, gardening, fishing, and harvesting food in their general vicinity.

I can only theorize as to why, but I know that from my childhood, the majority of the families were single income, and single parents were un-common, cost of housing was expenisve, but still attainable, and there was no such thing as a compuker or e-mail to suck up time and add on dramatically to the working day. People had time to cook.

Face it, cooking is not a survival skill anymore, neither is sewing, knitting, or home canning. Many come into the hospitality industry because they need a job--to get them through college, so why learn all about that cooking stuff when it's so old fashioned and useless?
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #11 of 18
Hey now,

I work on commercial film sets. If only you could get to see the schooling of child actors. Now here's a bunch of future leaders of the world. Sure they have the basic food skills down, they know which jars have M&Ms and which contain the Starburst. A lot of the set teaching consists of playing Connect Four and occassionaly I've seen a Risk board out. Sure they talk like adults (not necessarily a good thing), but only a few with parents that give a **** (another rarity) seem to have any hope with education and social skills.
post #12 of 18
I remembered taking Home Ec ages ago in mid elementary school but there was no such program for seniors or anything else that followed through to high school...at least, not in our public school system. Theres a lot, I find that isn't taught in schools that are expected to be taught in by the parents/guardians. Simple things that refer to behavior I understand like respect, but I found myself being tutored by a cousin and aunt on math (when I was introduced to multiplicity and devision) and chinese calligraphy. I actually learned more from them then I did with my teachers. I'm finding this problem stems not just with something like Home Economics or extracurricular but also with some of the core subjects. I don't know if its me going to a ghetto school or most kids I run into today in college who does the same idiotic BS as seraphim pointed out (I swear to god, the next time someone says "I can't eat pork so I'll have a pepperoni pizza" one more time, I'm gonna slit my wrists) maybe its a generation thing, or politics messing around with the school system, or bad parenting, or a combination of all the above.
It actually scares me that some customers come in who are taking business courses keep complaining that they can buy a chicken breast meat for under $2 a piece and that we should be charging that much to them. If they get hired, I ain't trusting them with anything other then a broom and dust pan.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
thats it... ive made a decision... im going to hire out a community centre once a week and do a bloody cooking course... for young people/ young adults... or whoever the **** wants to turn up.... ill do some research beforehand and plan maybe 2 or 3 classes

basic food skills first, identification, hygeine, safety then more and more advanced to the end of the class,

bet you £10 i have to get a police background check first before anyone would let me get near a child, and bet you another £10 i need a bajillion pounds worth of insurance if i want to get knives out.

but there are ways and means... ways and means around everything... fake knives for one, to get the motion and the pattern down etc. then later, progress to full knives (maybe not with the children...)
post #14 of 18
Sounds like a good idea, I was contemplating something similar for my old high school though they didn't have much for cooking facilities. Though funding would be a bit of an issue since the schools I'm aiming at is public, taking money from those bean counting beaurocrats...I mean, Conservatives would be a toughie. Most kids I know now and knew back in high school could barely fry an egg and make mac and cheese from a box without somehow screwing it up. I'd hate to think what would happen if they got their hands on a chicken breast.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
if they could even work out which part was the breast...
post #16 of 18
I just want to point out that undercooked pork will - apparently quite frequently- contain toxoplasma gondii. I have read a report by the new zealand government saying it was present in something like 8 out of 36 *"cooked, ready to eat"* hams. There are many other ways to catch it, though, esp. soil.

Some sources say this pathogen is nothing to worry about, but if you look at the more recent research, it turn out it might be very bad.

The pathological effects are relatively subtle, but once you've caught it you'll have it for life, so the effect adds up, and up.

I bet people will be vaccinated against it in the future (it's easy).

People will look back thinking "gee, no wonder everyone was so dumb back then" (they'll probably say that about lots of things, though) (just reffering to how some people tend to do that sometimes wrt people in the middle ages etc.)

No offense intended here, I'm just saying (people tend to get offended for some reason when I post things like this (I read the angry toxocologist's blog))
post #17 of 18
Seraphim, that's what I'm doing....
I run a little pastry and chocolate shop. On the side I offer classes to kids, basic stuff: making cookies, pies, cakes. Kids are from 6-15 years old.

I always try to find out how much the kids know about food in the first 5 minutes of the class. When making cookies, I'll introduce the ingredients: Butter, eggs, flour, sugar, cocoa, etc.

Now comes the kicker: Where do eggs come from? Most of the kids can guess they come from chickens. Butter? Close to 90% don't know. About 5% say butter comes from cows. I joke and say I never saw a cow that gave butter, as far as I know, cows only produce two items on a daily basis, one is milk, and the other you don't want to know.

I see it as my job to secretly brainwash the kids into knowing how to make an acutual cookie, how to use ingredients, and where ingredients come from.
According to the gospel of televison and advertising, this is sacreligious, as mass produced tastes better and looks better.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
toxoplasma gondii causes toxoplasmosis doesnt it? and i know thats really bad...

either way, i still cook my pork to white meat... after all its a white meat, not a pink meat
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