Kids are lacking the basics

20/05/2009 - 00:00
Three-quarters of British children do not know how to boil an egg, according to reports.

A poll for the supermarket chain Morrisons has found that almost half of youngsters never or rarely help prepare evening meals, even though around a third of parents want them to take part.

Meanwhile two in five said they were too stressed about homework or too tired to help cook.

The report also revealed that a third of parents had learned to cook from their own mothers and fathers, and 80% viewed culinary ability as an important skill.

Experts said that it is important to encourage children to take part in cooking as it helps them improve their mathematical skills.

Author Annabel Karmel said that this problem is down to today's parents not having the time to get children involved: "A third of parents admit it's easier to let their children watch television than to enlist their help with the evening meal.

"Cooking is a great way for children to learn about maths, measuring, and understanding time, so it's worth the effort. What's more it's a great way to get fussy eaters to try new foods." David Edwards, director of programmes and partnerships at the School Food Trust said: "Let's Get Cooking is addressing the lack of cooking skills among young people and their families. This is a new, national network of healthy cooking clubs for children and their parents, backed by £20 million from the Big Lottery Fund. "Many parents have not acquired these skills and therefore can't pass them on. Let's Get Cooking has been set up to provide a sustainable national network with the aim of reaching over 1 million people during the five years of Lottery funding. We are using the Lottery funding to set up the first 5,000 clubs by 2010, of which there are already more than 2,000. To date, the demand for Let's Get Cooking is enormous, with all club places snapped up quickly and many schools around the country on the Let's Get Cooking waiting list."

By the age of children should be able to chop vegetables, grate cheese and boil an egg, and by the age 16, teenagers should be able to serve up risottos and pasta dishes.

Some 1,000 children and 1,000 parents took part in the poll.

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