Schools Already Teach Cooking & Nutrition



I could end this debate with one sentence.

In America nutrition and cooking are already taught in elementary,  junior, and high schools.  

End of debate

But one, that would be no fun. And two, I think Ruth is advocating for more cooking and nutrition education than what is being done currently.

Therefore, I will give a full and complete rebuttal.


I think we can all agree that Ruth states her case for cooking classes in schools very well. The problems she wishes to address with her solution are real. It is obvious she is passionate about this topic and cares for people.

And on the surface adding cooking, or more cooking, to the school curriculum may sound like a great idea to a lot of people. So let’s take a deeper look at this question.

Free Democratic Society

In free democratic societies people are free to make their own decisions. We cannot compel or force people to do what we want and what we think is best for them or their children. The most we can do is put information out there.

Not even God makes or forces  people to do anything.  In Judeo-Christian religions humans are born with free will. And the first people on earth, Biblically speaking, immediately exercised their free will by eating that famous apple.

Role of Parents

Yes, I agree with Ruth. Everyone should know how to perform basic life skills like cooking. But then kids should know lots of basic life skills, like how to wash their clothes, how to change a tire, and how to iron a shirt.

The question is who should be the primary teacher of these skills.

I do not believe the schools should be the primary place children learn most basic life skills. Parents have a responsibly to raise and teach their children. And cooking is one of those skills parents have primary responsibility for. If parents are abdicating their responsibilities it is not the school’s job to take over, especially if there is not time nor money to do so.

Purpose of Public Schools

Public schools cannot right every wrong nor solve every ill in society. That is not what schools were founded for nor is it their main purpose.

The primary purpose of public schools is to teach reading, writing, math, history, science, geography, and thinking skills, with a smattering of health, art, music, and physical education.

The average school day in America is five to five and one half hours.

Teaching just the seven major subjects within that five to six hour time span is a very tight squeeze indeed. Squeezing one more subject in there would take away time from the primary purpose of our citizen funded public schools.

Nutrition and Cooking Are Already Taught in Schools

The simple fact is that elementary, junior, and high schools in America are already required to teach nutrition in health and science classes and to teach the food chain (where a hamburger comes from) in science class.

And in many Junior high and High schools basic cooking skills and nutrition are taught in more detail in Home Economics classes. Often these classes are electives and run for only half of the school year.

State Legislatures Set Curriculum and Standards

Local school boards and teachers have little say in curriculum matters these days.

In this day of hyper, high-stakes state testing of students to make Cooking a separate, stand-alone subject in the curriculum you would have to get it approved by each of the fifty (50) state legislatures in the U.S. You would have to lobby for it and make a case that it is necessary for students.

Nutrition and Brain Development

And yes, Ruth is correct, learning is dependent on brain development and that is dependent on good nutrition.

However, the most important period for brain development is prenatal and during the first five years after birth. That time frame is before children even begin their formal schooling.

Therefore, adding cooking classes to the elementary school curriculum will not solve that problem. It would be too little too late.

Budget Issues

I don’t know what it is like in Great Britain where Ruth lives, but most schools in the states today are struggling to pay the bills. Schools are cutting programs and staffs. There simply is no money for schools to add something new to the curriculum, especially a class that would be so costly.

No Guarantee

And even if schools did teach cooking and nutrition beyond what they already provide there would be absolutely positively no guarantee that children would eat any better than they do now. Children learn most what they see in the home. If parents put fast food on the table at night, that is what their children will learn. If parents do not cook in the home, that is what children will learn. I don’t see how you over come this basic fact of life.

Healthy Eating Information Is Out There

And it is not like healthy food information is not out there. It is. All over the place.  But for what ever reason many people ignore it. Or maybe it is because healthy food is too expensive for the average family to afford.

There Is No Magic Diet

Implicit in the school cooking debate is which foods and which diet will be taught in schools. Some advocates for adding cooking to the school curriculum want all of us to eat what they like and what they think is best for us.

They believe in all sincerity that a particular diet is best and will lead to long and healthier lives. But it is not as simple as that. There are many factors that are beneficial and contribute to overall good health. And we have dealt with these issues in previous posts here at MTTD.

Just look at the French. They eat more fat than just about any peoples on the face of the earth. And they have some of the highest cholesterol levels in the world. Yet their cardiovascular disease rate is way lower than the U.S. Why is that?

Here is the truth: No single diet or food, nor the elimination of any diet or food, will give you another hundred years on this earth. Just ask Linda McCartney.

Who Decides What I Put In My Body?

Beyond the cooking in school debate some folks want governments to enforce their food and dietary beliefs and likes on all of us. I do not  think Ruth is in that group. Nevertheless,  there are folks that would like nothing better than to MAKE  you eat what they deem healthy. No one, least of all the government, should be allowed to dictate what foods an individual can or cannot eat.   


Something like this was attempted once before, and it quickly got way out of control.  And that is a fear I have now. It was not with food then, but with alcohol. The Noble Experiment is what they called it. But Prohibition did not work!!!  Prohibition was a colossal failure.

Prohibition proved if people want something they will find a way to get it. It is that apple thingie all over again.

The food and nutrition campaign is not that far along as of now. But I don’t want to see it get that far.

In Conclusion

Here at MTTD I do not advocate for one food, one type of food, or one diet over another. I try to present the most recent up-to-date research and factual information about diet and nutrition. I humbly suggest a varied diet eaten in moderation.  And I try to provide inexpensive, quick, and easy recipes to meet the needs of MTTD’s reader’s busy life style.

But in the end, each individual has the right to decide for him or her self and for their children what to eat. No individual or group, at least not in a free democratic system of government, has the right to impose their will or their likes on another.

In this debate it might be good to heed the dictum of a Greek philosopher who lived over 2000 years ago:

“Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent. “
(Epictetus,  Greek philosopher AD 55 – AD 135)

Featured Recipe        Bacon Onion and Cheese Pizza Squares.

Because this blog post was so long, and in an attempt to keep posts to a reasonable length, I am going to share this recipe and directions on how to make with you tomorrow.

Following is a picture of this wonderful gooey pizza.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the recipe.


Print Friendly

2 comments to Schools Already Teach Cooking & Nutrition

  • Friend with a job

    I totally agree with all the points mentioned in your blog regarding including nutrition and cooking in the public school curriculum. While an important topic, it is but one of many important extra curricular topics that need to fit into the all too short school day. This topic is covered at every grade level in some fashion whether it be in kindergarten learning about what snacks are nutritious, health education and even in the science curriculum. Students, especially those in California, are extremely cognizant of healthy eating habits (even if they choose to ignore their knowledge). Additionally, schools can’t be all things to all people. There must be shared responsibility with the parents.

  • Larry

    Seems to me there is enough cooking taught. Cooking is not one of the 3 R’s. Those are most important for kids to learn. I also don’t want my taxes to go up.