I love Pancake Day! A real chance to show off my cooking skills to the children. To some extent, the mere spectacle of the Headmaster making a mess with flour, eggs and milk to make batter, and then sending pancakes flying around the Assembly Hall , with the ever present danger of setting off the fire alarms is enough. So it was a bonus that all who wanted to were able to have a taste. And the best bit – I had enough batter left over to enjoy some pancakes myself in the evening.
Cooking is such an important life skill. We are so lucky here to have such a well-organised and resourced cookery room and cooking is one part of the curriculum I would love to develop further. Cooking was not part of the curriculum at either of my schools when I was growing up but I was lucky because I was taught to cook by many different members of my family; maybe it was because I was interested or maybe it was just part of the family ethos that we all had to take our turn. My great aunt taught me to bake cakes, my father taught me to cook basic sauces and my mother taught me to bake bread and to make jams. We often joke that the only family heirlooms we have are recipes and there’s got to be a project at some stage for one of us to write a family cookbook. Interestingly, I wonder whether the fact that I often saw my father and grandfather cooking made the idea of cooking more acceptable to myself and my brother – it certainly never occurred to me as I grew up that cooking was something that boys didn’t do.
So good food matters to me and being able to cook and share my cooking has played a major part in my social life. For me, both growing up and now, the kitchen has always been the most important room in the house; the very heart of our family life. So isn’t it a shame then that as a nation we buy the largest number of ready meals of any country and that whilst we love watching cookery shows on television, most of them are about dinner party cooking and bear little relation to what you might actually cook on a daily basis. We need more Delia Smith and less…. well ….cake maybe?
Of course, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, heralds the arrival of Lent; a time when we traditionally choose to give up something. The Prime Minister is foregoing crisps for Lent. I know I should give up biscuits and cake, I just don’t know whether I quite have the will-power. We’ll see, but please feel free to tempt me!
Friday 3rd March 2017