My one regret about my schooling? Although it's something I had virtually no control over? I wish there had been a food science class when I was in high school. The Home Economics classes I took hardly even involved anything that a person could call "cooking", let alone anything that would be considered "science". In an ideal world--the one where we're independently wealthy and I don't have to work in order to provide my family with health insurance...I spend my time getting food science classes into the junior high schools and high schools in our area. I just think there's no better way to get kids interested in science. In math. In environmentalism. In real food. In health. In life, for heaven's sake. Food is life.
I am doing what I can by trying to involve my own kids in the cooking we do at home. Prima is especially interested in baking, so for her 11th birthday we gave her her own cooking tools and a couple of cookbooks. From this series. She loves these cookbooks. She has been checking them out of the school library one by one for the past couple of months. And I love them for her. The recipes are written in a way that almost everything can be done by a child over the age of 10. Usually all a parent needs to do is help with getting things in and out of the oven and supervising the use of an electric mixer, if it's called for. The books also give historical context for the recipes. For example, in the Molly cookbook (Molly is a girl from the 1940's), there's a sidebar about food rationing and one about the use of margarine vs butter at the time. And more. That's just what I noticed on a brief glance through the book. And she has already done her first "by herself" cooking project: Ginger Cookies. She had a great time. I think it gave her a sense of independence and accomplishment. And bonus: they're delicious!
I have vivid sensory memories of cooking with The Pie Queen, especially around the holidays. I hope my kids find as much joy and comfort in our traditional home-cooked foods as I have my whole life. But, I also hope that cooking with my kids will eventually help my words of advice to sink in: that math is useful in everyday life; that science is fascinating; and that food cooked at home is infinitely more delicious than food at a restaurant (especially one of the fast-food variety).