How do you involve children in the Slow Food movement in West Scotland?
We run Taste Adventures in the local area to encourage kids to engage with food in an exciting way that uses all their senses. Children are also encouraged to watch our cookery demonstrations that take place at local farmers’ markets. Slow Food UK (slowfood.org.uk) has plenty of info about introducing children to this more natural way of enjoying eating.
What do you find children most enjoy about spending time cooking?
There is the obvious fact that cooking can be messy, which means fun! Along with that there is exploring the creative side and more than anything I think it is the sensory aspect that really intrigues children. They are like sponges, soaking up the vast learning experiences that are available to them through cooking the most basic of recipes. You can see the reaction in their faces as they watch ingredients change when added together.
Why is it so important to involve children in these sorts of projects?
With obesity statistics in young people as they are, it is necessary to introduce children to healthy and nutritious food from as early an age as possible. Children love to help and getting involved in the preparation of the family meal or a cake for afternoon tea helps them feel important, builds their self-worth and develops confidence. Developing such an important life skill should never be overlooked. Encouraging an interest in food, and its myriad of textures and flavours can ensure a healthy lifelong attitude to something that is all too often ‘wolfed down’ in front of the TV without much thought. The children of today are going to be so much better informed than the children of the past 15 - 20 years, with society in general taking a closer look at the food consumed. This in turn should help the obesity malnutrition in this country. Having been in food teaching for nearly 20 years, I never fail to be shocked that a large percentage of children don’t know, for example, what a cauliflower is or that pork comes from a pig!
Can you give one tip on enjoying slow food at home?
Slow Food is about 3 key things - food should be good, clean and fair. So in the home it’s simply about thinking: Is this food healthy and nutritionally sound for the family? Does this food limit the damage to the environment, support animal welfare and people’s health? And where did this food come from? The fair side is about supporting small scale and where possible local producers.
Find out what events are taking place this summer by joining Brenda at twitter.com/SlowFoodWScot.