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Home Ec; Exceptionally good.

If I can borrow the words of John Dewey from 1934 talking on Individual Psychology and Education;

More specifically in relation to nutrition I like this definition:

Utter et al 2018 in their article in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour titled; Self-Perceived Cooking Skills in Emerging Adulthood Predict Better Dietary Behaviours and Intake 10 Years Later: A Longitudinal Study summarised

“Reporting adequate cooking skills at age 18–23 years was associated with usual involvement in meal preparation, having frequent family meals, greater vegetable consumption, and lower consumption of fast food later in life. Findings were consistent with a growing body of literature that suggests learning to cook is associated with better dietary behaviours”

All male private schools in the 2020 climate of equality and shared responsibility could lead with way with the sentiment that households for the most part are no longer; women cook and men provide the earning potential.

I struggle to see the legitimate argument against if the school lead with;

Like most things in life, when we remove the surface layer there are more benefits and in this case, it’s more than learning to cook.

Learning to follow directions from a well (or poorly) written recipe and converting measurements from imperial to metric are both great life skills that can be learned in the kitchen. Cooking can teach patience, practice and planning. It helps combat sexism and fosters an appreciation for other cultures.

I speak from personal experience that as a boarder of 5 years, all of our 3 meals a day were provided for us. On weekends if you stayed at day kid’s house, the last thing you or your friends parents wanted to do was involve you in cooking.

Coming out of school, I had very few meals I could prepare for myself to give myself the best chance to consume a balanced diet of nutrients and control my calorie intake. It also was incredibly inefficient cost wise, buying out for the majority of meals. As humans under pressure we revert to our lowest level of training and we are inherently lazy. Meaning as a younger healthy adult with no dependants or mortgage – health and money weren’t drivers to learn how to cook.

While schools are notoriously slow at up taking ideas like this, if you are a parent, you have part of the solution; involve your kids in cooking at home.

According to the ABS data of Australian children aged 2-17 in 2017–18, an estimated 24% (746,000) of children were overweight (17%) or obese (7.7%).

If we as a society and governments genuinely wish to decrease the burden on the health care system, given in 2015, 8.5% of the burden of disease in Australia was attributable to overweight and obesity. Creating better relationships with food will create healthier people, cities and nations; we must be proactive and invest time, effort, money and infrastructure at the front end of the cycle over being reactive at the back end.

Matt is a small gym owner, trying to look at the nuance of the bigger picture.


  1. Utter, J., Larson, N., Laska, M. N., Winkler, M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2018). Self-Perceived Cooking Skills in Emerging Adulthood Predict Better Dietary Behaviors and Intake 10 Years Later: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of nutrition education and behavior50(5), 494–500.

2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics