Jamie Oliver's recent program on eggs and chickens was excellent for inducing guilt - I feel faintly criminal now if I buy anything but free range, after seeing what he showed. More recently, I've been watching his Ministry of Food programs and am utterly bewildered at why so many people are resorting to take-away because they cannot cook at all. It's astonishing, then, when they learn even a little, how transforming it is to their whole lives - not a chore, but a joy.
I also watched his series on School Dinners - another eye-opener. And if you look at the UK schools food trust, or whatever it's called, the standards and expectations on the website now seem vastly different from what appeared to be acceptable when he tied on an apron and went into the land of fried chips and chicken nuggets very few years ago. You've got to respect someone who, having got celebrity, is being so damn good at making it work for good.
In Australia, noted chef Stephanie Alexander is involved in a project to have children growing kitchen gardens at school, and learning about food from soil to plate, so to speak.
We learned to cook at home, as kids, starting with simpler stuff and going from there. Maybe I'm lucky, but when I think of the Ministry of Food idea of "Pass it on" (learn one recipe, then teach it to two people, who then teach it to two more), I don't think I know anyone who can't cook. It would be maybe adding to or refining repertoires, not developing them from scratch as the idea intends.
So maybe I'll do it this way. Dear blog reader, head on over to Jamie's Ministry of Food and look at some of the videos and find a recipe that interests you. See how Jamie makes it and have a go yourself. Then pass it on, in whatever way works for you. It's a very generous website, lots of pictures and information - not one that wants to push you into buying the book by only giving you a squeak to start.
I tried his way of making an omelette, which was different to other ways I'd tried (eg. no milk added, just the eggs whisked) and then did some tweaking. Two eggs for a single omelette, not three, and I skipped the salt (rarely add it to anything anyway, so even a little tastes strong). Some smoked salmon shavings on the top, or shaved triple-smoked leg ham. Or served (you don't have to believe me, but it tasted good) with sliced strawberries on the side, instead of tomatoes. Got that last idea from French toast with raspberry coulis that I had at a cafe for breakfast once - before that, French toast was a savoury dish only, nothing sweet with it (although I believe North Americans add maple syrup to it, which I can't quite approach. Bit too sweet. The raspberries and strawberries still have a bite to them).
Hmmm. Maybe I'll head back over there myself and try something else. Not because I can't, but because I can, and I might learn something new, too.
If you do try something from there, do leave a comment here, esp. if you've blogged about it, so I can enjoy reading your take on it.