Bring Back Home Ec?

Back in junior high or high school, many of us wouldn't be caught dead taking home ec. We may have regarded the class as outdated, sexist, or simply unappetizing (or maybe it didn't even exist). But a recent commentary posted at Food Politics has some people stopping to reconsider. Did you take home economics? What did you learn? Should it be taught in schools today? Over at the Food Politics blog, Marion Nestle linked to a recent piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a JAMA commentary, Harvard pediatrician David Ludwig and Tufts professor Alice Lichtenstein suggest that we bring back home economics to provide students with basic food preparation and meal planning skills. Given the rise in obesity, the importance of health awareness (on issues like high fructose corn syrup, for example), and our culture's general lack of cooking knowledge, we think this actually makes a lot of sense. It fits well with initiatives like Michelle Obama's Let's Move! and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

As Ludwig and Lichtenstein point out, a modern-day home ec need not be modeled after the 1960s, girls-only version. Rather, they write, "girls and boys should be taught the basic principles they will need to feed themselves and their families within the current food environment: a version of hunting and gathering for the 21st century. Through a combination of pragmatic instruction, field trips, and demonstrations, this curriculum would aim to transform meal preparation from an intimidating chore into a manageable and rewarding pursuit."

What do you think? If you took home ec, was it valuable? What would you want your kids to learn?

Read more: Here’s a thought: bring back Home Ec

Related: Marion Nestle Remains Optimistic About the Future of Food

(Image: Flickr member San Jose Library licensed under Creative Commons)

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Healthy Living, Politics

Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel

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