The other day I was having coffee (Tonx coffee from an Aeropress if you play a Barista part time) and writing through a schedule when I had a thought: “What if we revamped Home Economics?” The thought before that was something like, “If I was an extra in the TJ Hooker series, what would my speaking lines be?” They are not all altruistic thoughts.
But the home ec stuff is a good thought. Thoughts like this come into my little brain frequently, thoughts that revolve around the notion of making the world a better place through food, thoughts that pivot around the role of the chef community in the betterment of society. Many of these thoughts are stupidly naïve and grandiose, unachievable and complete wastes of time, but some gather steam as good ideas that could make a difference.
So the idea was simple: fixing the curriculum of Home Econ or Consumer Sciences could make kids more food aware, healthier, and give them tools for a hard future.
My problem is I had no real understanding of the subject or what the status was in the curriculum of schools these days, but I surmised that because of the absence of food knowledge in the vast majority of school-aged kids, the curriculum just was not really up to snuff.
A short virtual research trip to the Google and a couple of phone calls found that the subject had recently been canned in our public school district (Athens Clarke County) and the school systems where it was still in effect were using a course syllabus from about 40 years ago. The textbooks were absolutely boring and dated. The food talked about was pretty crappy-looking. There was a lot of gender specific pre-natal care stuff that would scare the bejeebus out of any male in his young teens. there was a lot of talk about food borne illnesses and bacteria… way to get kids excited about food! One class with a focus on listeria and I would probably have skipped the rest of the classes to hang out in the parking lot and play hi-lo. Trust me, I was a very typical student and this stuff would have put the lights out in my brain.