Page last updated at 05:00 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 06:00 UK

Free cookbooks for 11-year-olds

new cook book
The recipes were sent in by the public

All 11-year-olds in England will be able to receive a free cookbook under a programme aimed at tackling obesity.

Head teachers will be able to order the booklet, which has recipes for favourites such as spaghetti bolognese, roast chicken and jacket potatoes.

Ministers are also announcing that 151m will be spent building food technology areas in schools.

The initiatives are designed to pave the way for compulsory cooking lessons for all 11- to 14-year olds by 2011.

It will be great if young people had the chance to make healthy dishes from basic ingredients at home, not simply in the classroom as I did when I was growing up
Ed Balls, Schools Secretary
Schools Secretary Ed Balls said everyone should be able to prepare basic, nutritious dishes from scratch instead of "taking pride" in not being able to cook properly.

"Too many people just accept they cannot cook or simply do not have time for it," he said.

"We've lost touch with making basic dishes from scratch, even though there has never been a wider range of food in our shops.


"Schools are only part of the solution - at the end of the day parents bring up children, not teachers.

"It will be great if young people had the chance to make healthy dishes from basic ingredients at home, not simply in the classroom as I did when I was growing up."

The government announced in January that from 2011 it would be compulsory for 11- to 14-year-olds to have food technology lessons, including hands-on practical cooking classes.

Cookery is already compulsory in primary schools.

Money being announced will be used to equip the 515 secondary schools which do not have cooking facilities.

In addition, the government has pledged 750,000 to recruit and train 800 new food technology teachers.

Teaching young people to cook has got to be a good thing
Nick Walters, London

Head teachers will be able to order the cookbooks for their Year 7 pupils.

Recipes in it came from the public, who were asked to nominate the basic dishes every child should learn how to cook.

They are also available online on the Teachernet website.

The cookbook has a foreword by top chef Phil Vickery.

He said: "Cooking is a skill and often it is not learned at an early enough age. Once you can cook the basics you will have the best survival tool in the box to take you into adult life.

"Eating good quality meals made from basic ingredients should be part of everyone's daily experience and by learning how to prepare simple and nutritious meals we will make this a reality."

These are the recipes contained in Real Meals:

Apple crumble
Beef and veggie stew
Beef curry
Cheese sauce
Chicken casserole
Chicken pasta salad
Chicken tikka
Chilli con carne
Chow mein
Cottage pie
Crispy potatoes
Fruit pie
Lamb rogan josh
Leek and potato soup
Mushroom risotto
Roast chicken legs
Savoury rice
Sizzling stir-fry
Spaghetti Bolognese
Speedy potato salad
Spicy tomato soup
Summer pudding
Vegetable curry
Vegetarian lasagne

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