Back in the 1970′s across the USA in high schools, there were core classes that were mandatory for girls. These classes were called “Home Ec.” This stands for Home economics. In these classes, they taught everything from manners to sitting correctly in a skirt or dress, cooking, flower arranging and putting a zipper in a skirt. These were all important skills for the modern woman of the time!
But come the feminist movement and women going back to work and women’s roles changing…which were on the brink of change in those same 70′s, women thought that perhaps they just might like to take the boys class in high school….auto mechanics. Cece felt this way….but was denied entry due to the fact that she was a girl. Just so you know, she still holds a grudge against the fact that she could not take this class and still blames her lack of mechanical skill on it.
But she digresses.
Back in the ’70s in home ec, women were taught to cook. They were taught how to make meals from scratch because that is all there was. There was flour and sugar and baking powder, meat eggs and other ingredients that you bought from the grocery store. There was no such thing as TV dinners or pre made foods..or foods in a box that you just add water to and heat or stir. So women learned to cook. They learned to balance a meal with carbohydrates, protein and fruits and vegetables and they learned how to make a simple cake or pie for a sometimes dessert.
And sit down before you read this so you do not faint. Most women at that time, did not work outside of the home. They worked in the home, taking care of their children and keeping house. In most homes women cooked dinner each night and when their husband came home, they sat down as a family to eat it and talk about their day. Women in the ’70s usually taught their daughters to cook and did so side by side because it was felt that these girls would have a husband one day that they would need to cook for. And so it went.
But then, women went out of the house to work. They got jobs that fulfilled them and became a second bread winner for the family. They had more income and bought more things. Soon the family relied on 2 incomes in order to pay their bills. But the result and impact of this? Mom tried to do everything and found out quickly she could not. It was just impossible to work all day come home and cook a full meal and help the kids with homework and on and on. So what had to give? The cooking. Too time consuming. Many families got take out and began to eat fast food. It was quick, easy and filling and all you had to do was throw away the cartons or boxes and eat on paper plates. Let’s press the EASY button!
What has the result of this been? The result has been obesity. Everyone is grabbing this and grabbing that and very few are cooking. Everything is super sized and loaded and layered with fat on fat on sugar. Most young women who are between 18 and 30 do not know how to cook from scratch. Yes, they know how to open a box and add water, or microwave a pre-made meal…but cook from scratch? NOT.
What is the solution? Can we reconstitute Home Ec? Can we take the old curriculum, distilled down, and add water and stir and turn it into something new that will be effective for the 21st century?
Perhaps schools can begin to take some of the concepts of the archived home economics course and turn it into programs that teach cooking. A creative teacher can incorporate math and reading into cooking lessons. Is this a pipe dream? Perhaps it is in this day and time when districts are laying off 1, 200+ teachers (here in Albuquerque) and putting their money and priorities into building high schools sports stadiums(again here in Albuquerque) ….. if schools put the emphasis back on learning…kids could be taught to cook and taught other life long skills that would help them to be healthy , happy and safe and productive adults.
“Bye for Now” from The Two Whos
Cece-one of The Two Whos http://www.thetwowhos.com
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