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things "kids today" are clueless about??

Have been working as a teacher aide at a local school district or almost 2 years... HS kids. Last year was mainly with students with multiple disabilities. This year "shadowing" a bright/polite 9th grade with Aspbergers/OCD. Most of his classes are "replacement"... SMALL numbers and slower pace.

Have made a few school observations. Average 9th grader (NOT student I work with) CANNOT tell time on a clock with hands?? And cursive has apparently gone the way of the dinosaur?? Guess when parents can no longer SPELL stuff in front of kids that they don't want them to know... resort to perfect cursive penmanship??

Have made a few food related observations, too. Niece and I have a girl's night around the holidays... decorating, baking, crafting, EATING, etc. Made pop corn from KERNELS... after finding a glass lid to fit pan. You'd have thought she was watching the latest/greatest movie, as her mouth hung open watching the kernels pop!?! Hauled out rarely used waffle iron for our "brunch" that included serious amounts of bacon. She had NO idea what it was?? Even after lifting lid??

Find it really sad that a whole generation doesn't know about a lot of "stuff"!?!

Yesterday, on class, teacher was having kids plant some seeds. One girl had a packet of dill and thought it woud grow dill PICKLES!?! NO idea that cukes become pickles, grapes become raisins, or plums become prunes??

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  1. Well, I would vote for the broiler unit as easily the most common kitchen device that people generally are unfamiliar with. Very. sad. And there are a lot of people who rarely use their oven, sparingly use the stovetop, and mostly use the m-wave....

    1. So this is your teachable moment right? If you're working as an aide at a local school district or almost 2 years why not dig your heels in and provide some insight?

      As shocking as you may find the lack of understanding and perhaps exposure of these kids, reading your post kinda surprises me a bit too. It takes a special person to work with kids, disabled or not.

      Have a nice summer!

      3 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        HillJ... Last year, working with multi-disable kids, was in a "food and nutrition" class with 2 girls. One leery but open to trying thing... other NOT open to anything. One day doing chicken skewers... chicken breast, peppers, onions, etc. under broiler. One girl was EW right from start. Other took a little coaxing... do ya like chicken, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc? One day, roasted asparagus. Just encouraged girls to take a TAsTE!

        1. re: kseiverd

          Patience of a Queen, kseiv! Hang in there, don't give up. They need ya! Keep encouraging. Picky eaters, unfamiliar foods, lack of kitchen experience...well you can find these attributes just about everywhere. Doesn't mean it's forever or that you can't teach them some new tricks!

        2. re: HillJ

          I think you are being overly hard on the OP. If I am reading your post correctly you are inferring that she is not "special" enough to work with these kids because she is not using these teachable moments to broaden the horizons of the class in general. She is the aid, and not the teacher. As an aid in a classroom, particularly if "attached" to only one or two students, it is not your job to teach the class, or even to provide input unless asked. It can be a touchy situation. That doesn't mean that one can't find ways to impart some illuminating info, but you certainly don't want to give the impression of inserting yourself into the lesson plan.

        3. I was just mentioning this to a friend a few days ago - Darina Allen's cookbook: 'Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why' was born when a student in one of her classes went to ditch a batch of over-whipped cream, not realizing that she was halfway towards making butter.


          So many similar stories, like kids being amazed that you can make a cake 'from scratch' - you don't have to get it from a box... it is such a different world to the one we had when my Mum was growing up - they had no fridges, no television... but so much more knowledge about other things that have since been lost or are becoming forgotten...

          1. I think it depends on where/how you grow up. People like to lament the current generation's lack of knowledge (or whatever the topic is) but that's been going on for hundreds of generations. I was a teenager before I realized most people don't buy half a steer every year or eat meat that a family member had hunted.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Hobbert

              <<<People like to lament the current generation's lack of knowledge (or whatever the topic is) but that's been going on for hundreds of generations.>>>

              I'm 20 years old (younger than the average Chowhound) and I don't think it's fair to dismiss an entire generation for a few extreme cases of ... food ignorance?.. for lack of a better term.
              I use the broiler a few times per week, and just bought a new All Clad Waffle Maker after reading far too many reviews on Williams and Sonoma.

              It may go beyond "where/how" you grow up though. I am definitely NOT from a food-centric family. Nobody in my immediate or extended family cares about cooking; food is merely fuel to get through the day.
              My brothers would be the kids awed by the fact that pickles are pickled cucumbers.. so I think it goes to show there are "live to eat" and "eat to live" children in every generation!

              1. re: OhioHound

                Yup. I'm 31 and everybody's different. You just can't say a generation is one thing or the other. Haha I hear ya about the reviews... that explains the Zojirushi rice cooker on my counter :)

                1. re: Hobbert

                  "People like to lament the current generation's lack of knowledge (or whatever the topic is) but that's been going on for hundreds of generations."

                  Absolutely right. As Socrates noted in the Fifth Century BC:

                  “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

                  That sentiment has been repeated by old folks ever since. I've got more than a decade on you, but I think the notion that it is quite silly to "over define" any generation.

                  The way I see it, the burden of wisdom is the responsibility to teach those who are ignorant. The blessing of wisdom is the gift to learn from those who are innocent.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    That's the quote I was thinking of when I wrote my comment. People are more than a generation's label.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      <<The blessing of wisdom is the gift to learn from those who are innocent>>

                      Great statement. Saved for future reference!

                      1. re: MGZ

                        That's a great quote. Did Socrates really say that? That's amazing because I can hear the same lamentations spoken today 2500 years later!

                        1. re: seamunky

                          Yes, but, clearly, it's a translation into "our" present language. I'm sure it'll read different in another five hundred years when some other old codger like me tells someone to quit bitchin', teach what you know, and learn from what those kids have to say.

                    2. re: OhioHound

                      I really dig your food orientation, but I must add that the generations recently have been presented with dumbed down everything. I am a septuagenarian, and without tossing stuff around, believe me it is accurate to call it that. The dumb down includes food, music, HISTORY, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, word usage, geography, maps, right and left, north and south, the ability to read, and write (including just plain cursive!) typing (even though a keyboard is still central), math sans the calculator, and often, most of the things that happened before one was born! ;)
                      It goes on. Please know that many things that are a BIG deal are gone, so it is good to realize that. It's kind of like when your husband is looking for the butter and sez "I don't see it" as he opens the fridge door, vs something your KNOW is there, so you look until you do see it.
                      Enjoy the kitchen, cooking and food, Ohiohound!

                      1. re: VenusCafe

                        Dumbed down versions are available, but so are are the 'smartened up'.

                        I looked up 'dumb down' on Google's ngram. The use of that phrase has sky rocketed since 1990. There was a brief burst of it around 1900, but the examples were:

                        "But the sun, hit blazed away, Tel I jest dumb down in a crawfish-hole, Weary at hart, and sick at soul " 1898

                        "We dropped down slow and stopped, and me and Tom dumb down and went among them." Mark Twain

                        "Of course a man could have dumb down afoot, but not a horse."


                        I didn't have research tools like is when I was kid.

                        1. re: paulj

                          was listening to a google honcho being interviewed. he said a 10-year-old african kid with a smartphone has more information available than the us president did just 15 years ago.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            Available doesn't mean they are accessing or reading it. More likely watching cat videos. How many african kids even have a smart phone?

                  2. I find the complete opposite but we are in a solidly middle/upper middle class sprinkled with high wealth area. Farm to table is huge. My son and his friends volunteer at the CSA, have gardens at school, go to camps that are screen free where arts and crafts rule.

                    These kids can cook, help raise back yard chicken and plant their own gardens.

                    Instead of complaining about a lost generation make baby steps to change it. Work with the school to plant an herb garden, volunteer to have cooking classes with your nieces friends. Work with your local VA to start a pen pal club. Work with your local food bank to start a food package train to pack meals for kids who go hungry in the summer. Model the knowledge, skills and behaviors you want to see. You can't change the world but you can be part of the solutions.

                    1. It doesn't surprise me at all. I work with kids and young adults. Cursive is a thing of the past, so is spelling correctly (so is being embarrassed by misspellings) ....so is basic "business phone or correspondence etiquette", etc. Many changes in just my lifetime as an adult.

                      My youngest daughter ( 22 years old) just discovered from her chowhound mom, that she could make easy "cheese" out of yogurt, ricotta from milk and "cream cheese" from sour cream! We had this conversation by text...while discussing "curds"....she wrote "wow, mom, my world just came together a little bit and things are so much clearer now".

                      She is darned cute and funny :)

                      34 Replies
                      1. re: sedimental

                        It still surprises me, but I guess it shouldn't. I just call myself lucky to have grown up with broad cooking horizons. Imagine my shock when my 40 yr old colleague who grew up on Doritos and canned goods had no idea what a Harvest Festival was or where the broiler was and was even literally afraid of home-cooked food for quite a long time until I broke him in.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I'm a 33-year-old foodie who cooks from scratch every night and uses the broiler, but I have no idea what a Harvest Festival is. We should all be careful about over-generalizing our family and community traditions as "common knowledge."

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            Who needs a broiler when you have toaster oven? Or a gas grill out on the patio?

                            I can't recall when I last used the broiler on my stove.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Try a tiny apartment in the upper-Midwest. No toaster oven and too cold to use a charcoal grill most of the year.

                              That's when you use a broiler most of the year.

                              1. re: paulj

                                I use mine all the time to make toast. Small kitchen leaves no room for a toaster etc.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I use my broiler every day. To store my cast iron skillets.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    probably the best way to make pizza at home.

                                      1. re: grampart

                                        Yep. If you have an oven where the broiler is at the top, anyway. Best way to deliver as much heat as possible to the pie in as short a time as possible (mimicking a very hot professional setup) given the constraints of a home oven. I can walk you through my method if you're interested.

                                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                                            Here's the basic theory. To get the distinctive pizza-y texture and airiness in the crust, a lot of heat is crucial. A hotter oven puffs up the outer crust more quickly and crisps the surface while keeping the interior light and chewy rather than bread-y. But most home ovens will only get to 500 or 550 degrees (500 is my max). To get around this, you have to do a few things:

                                            - Get the 'stone' hotter than the max temp of the oven.

                                            - Use a 'stone' that by virtue of its thermal mass (translating roughly into its weight) and it's conductivity, delivers more heat to the pizza more quickly than standard pizza stones do at the same temperature.

                                            - Cook the pizza under the broiler so that you deliver heat from the top to match the heat from the bottom.

                                            - Use a dough wet enough to allow this extra heat to have maximum effect (this will vary depending on your oven/stone/etc).

                                            So essentially, I start off with a wetter-than-average dough, and ferment it for a while - usually in the fridge for a couple days. I take it out of the fridge and let it warm up and rise for an hour before I turn the oven on. Then, with the 'stone' on the bottom rack, near the element, I heat the oven to 350 or 400 for about an hour.

                                            I use a 1/2 inch thick slab of steel as my baking 'stone.' But in the past, I've used commercial stones, slate tiles (not a good idea - they shatter), an overturned cast iron skillet, and a lodge cast iron pizza 'stone' - you can get decent effects from all of the above. The 1/2 inch slab of steel is pretty heavy, but it maximizes the intended effect and minimizes cooking times. I have heard of using a thick slab of aluminum, but never tried it.

                                            Anyway, after an hour, I open the oven door to drop the temp, close it again, and turn the oven up to 500. The idea is to get the 'stone' hot all the way through before giving it another blast of radiated heat from the element to bring its temp above 500... and if the oven temp were already 500, then the element wouldn't turn on. At this time, I make my sauce (it's simple) and start to stretch the dough.

                                            When the oven beeps 500, I open the door again, and very carefully move the slab from the bottom of the oven to the top of the oven using heavy mitts and silicone potholders. This is admittedly dangerous. Modify as you feel you need to. I then turn the broiler to high.

                                            I assemble a pizza as the broiler element heats up. Use no more flour than necessary to get the pizza to slide off the peel.

                                            After the 'stone' has heated under the broiler for maybe 7-10 minutes (this is a guess), I put the pizza on the raging hot 'stone' and cook it under the broiler. I tend to get a full rise and some leoparding in about 2.5-3 minutes this way, but it can vary a bit. Your broiler will likely produce slightly different results - this process involves a bit of trial and error and fine-tuning.

                                            Reheat the stone for a bit under the broiler for subsequent pizzas. You want the broiler element bright red when the pizza goes in, so you may have to futz with it to ensure this.

                                            I'm going for a vaguely Neapolitan effect when I cook a pizza this way. It's not quite the same as a real Neapolitan pizza, but it's respectably close, very delicious, and quite different from what most people expect from homemade pizza. If your broiler isn't up to the task (or if you just prefer another style of pizza), you can still use some of these tricks to make a pretty respectable NY style pizza.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                Sounds like more work than I care to do. Especially since I'm not a big fan of the poofy crust, goopy center Neopolitan pie. My oven gets up to 550 and I don't start the cook until it heats for an hour AFTER the temp buzzer goes off. By then, I get temp readings on my Fibrament stone of 575-585 and that seems to be plenty hot enough. At times, I have been known to finish the pie under the broiler for a few seconds if I'm going for the " leoparding" effect to impress my guests, but not too much lately.

                                                1. re: grampart

                                                  All depends on the effect you want. In fairness though, all the extra work in the above post boiled down to fiddling with the oven temp a couple times and moving the 'stone' from the bottom rack to the top. Also, even if you use a less complicated method than I do, most people could get their crusts less bready in texture by heating their stone under the broiler for a bit before cooking their pies.

                                                  BTW, If the center of a Neapolitan style pie is goopy, that means you're doin it wrong. Usually too much sauce or wrong consistency of sauce, though it could also be a problem with the dough or the cooking surface or not enough top-heat.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    Goopy is the reason they use a knife and fork to eat one in Naples! Too much sauce and fresh mozz make for what I call a sloppy pie. My benchmark is the first pizza I ever ate in a New Jersey joint back in about 1955. Very minimalistic. Thin crust, sauce is "painted" on, and not too much mozz. Folks used to split a small one for an appetizer!

                                                    Photo of goopy Neapolitan.

                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                      I'm familiar with Neapolitan pizza. Don't know if you and I have different standards for 'goopy' or if you've just had wetter pizza than I have. A little moisture and less rigidity in the middle is normal. A soupy mess in the middle of the pie - that's Neapolitan done wrong, IMO.

                                                      FWIW, that pizza looks perfectly decent to me (though it's hard to tell from a photo).

                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                        This is one of my goopier attempts. For me, less is more!

                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                          That's a good looking pie.

                                                          I don't think I have any pics of the pizzas I've made on the steel slab - that was a fairly recent addition. The pie pictured below was cooked on a lodge cast iron pizza 'stone,' IIRC. Definitely has a few flaws, but it's more or less representative of what I can make so far. Excuse the crappy photography.

                                                  2. re: grampart

                                                    I do the same. I preheat the oven to 550F with the pizza stone inside and then form the pizza on parchment paper and slide it on with the paper. It always turns out great!

                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      I use one of these. The purists put it down, but I'm not a purist. Check out the video.

                                                    2. re: grampart

                                                      Yea, I stopped buying pre-shredded cheese a long time ago when I finally realized that it's easy to shred at home, it tastes better and the variety are endless as at least in my area pre-shredded only comes in certain cheese varieties.

                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                        Wow this is good to know. We were just discussing how most "wasabi" served with sushi in usual everyday Sushi restaurants is horesradish.

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          Do you mean American horseradish as opposed to Japanese horseradish?

                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                            I was under the impression that most of it is colored European horseradish.

                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                              Well, that's sort of a new thing. Does your sister like it? I'm a carbonated drink lover and have pondered buying one.

                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                She loves it, as do friends of mine who have one. No more lugging home/trying to store bottles of club soda and some of the concoctions I've had are really lovely. My sister is big on herbal-infused sodas.

                                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                  Wonderful. I think my hesitation was the use of the prepared flavor liquids but I guess I can always use my own.

                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                    Oh yes, that's the plus. With some trial-and-error can really make any sort of infusion you want. Last weekend a friend made some lime/cilantro-infused soda to drink with tequilia.

                                              2. re: paulj

                                                I use my broiler all the time...love it. And I have a gas grill. There are some dishes that just beg to be finished under a broiler and a toaster oven isn't large enough.

                                              3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                What is a harvest festival? I grew up in NYC, where there is no harvest to speak of.
                                                And we never really grilled unless we visited relatives who lived "on the Island" because where would we put the grill? On the fire escape?

                                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                                  i live in a very diverse community, thriving with recent immigrants. each year, the city puts on a music festival which includes over 40 booths selling foods of their "native cuisines."

                                                  as a kid growing up in brooklyn i couldn't swing a dead cat and not hit a pizzeria, but i had never seen bok lo-hong, pleah - sach ko, ofe akwu, or even banh-mi.

                                                  i love those foods now, but it wasn't some failing on the part of my parents, sheesh. lol. there were just no cambodians or nigerians in my hood!

                                              4. re: sedimental

                                                And I'm a 30 something who just explained to my 64 year old mother that you can make ricotta from milk. She was wide eyed and kind of freaked out by it, just like I was when she explained to me how to tile my own floors.

                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                  Ha. I explained the difference between curry powder and curry paste to my mom a couple days ago. I don't think she believed me.

                                              5. The only kids I spend much time around are those I'm related to, and those either have been or are being raised in gardens and kitchens and at the family table. It's all too easy to spot at least the ones lacking the latter location: they don't have much in the way of table manners, and they have no idea how to hold either a pen or a fork. Both are commonly held overhand, a bit like a screwdriver, and while in my youth you could tell something about a kid's socioeconomic status by his manners or lack of same this appears to be no longer true. Of course there are exceptions going both ways; yesterday I saw a well-dressed, white-bearded gentleman getting into his newish Mercedes while eating something out of hand, chewing with his mouth wide open …

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  Ugh. My five year old still eats like a wild wolf with his pants on fire. I am really ready for our effort to pay off...

                                                  1. re: JudiAU

                                                    Just be glad he isn't a picky eater.

                                                      1. re: mwhitmore

                                                        Cougar bars require that wolves wear pants until later.

                                                  2. I think it mostly has to do with their parents. Their parents can't cook, so they don't learn much about food either. I'm 30 btw, and many of my friends with kids don't cook anything that doesn't come from a box. But, I have other friends who are great cooks and their kids know a lot about food, gardening, etc. In fact, one right now is trying to get her daughter's elementary school a $25,000 grant to start a garden because her daughter is really interested in it.

                                                    As for the popcorn thing, I've never seen it made on the stove either. Growing up, we had an air popper where you put in the kernels and the oil or butter, and then turn it on.

                                                    Even when I was growing up there were kids whose parents never made waffles from scratch using an iron too, so it's not just the current generation.

                                                    38 Replies
                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                      That's all so interesting.

                                                      I grew up in a time where there were no microwaves. Popping popcorn on top of the stove was the only way to eat popcorn.
                                                      I remember when microwaves were first introduced. Not all families had them, mine certainly didn't, and the one I remember was at the hospital I worked...all the docs and nurses were told to not stand in front of it for fear of something bad happening, don't remember what.
                                                      Popcorn popped on top of the stove tastes totally different than microwave. I don't remember the last time I did it, though....it's all so convenient microwaved. I think I'll try it for 'old time sake'.
                                                      Same thing with waffles...there was never such a thing as frozen waffles...they were made from scratch in an iron. Mine still are...I can't imagine eating them from a box purchased from the freezer section.

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        I believe you're a generation above mine, so that would make sense. We didn't have a microwave til I was maybe 8 or so (so around 1990). We just had the air popper for the popcorn, it was the domed kind where when it was done, you just flip over the lid and use it as the bowl. I remember laying on the floor with my daddy drinking apple juice and eating popcorn and watching TV. Later on we got one that looked like this http://www.ebay.com/bhp/wear-ever-hot...

                                                        Waffles were always a staple at our house though, and my mom used the recipe from the Betty Crocker red cookbook that used whole wheat flour.

                                                        As for stuff like gardening, well, my dad owned a landscaping company so we were forced into early child labor :) My mom had a large garden at home before she went back to work.

                                                        Also, for the record, I still write in cursive, and love to send handwritten notes in the mail.

                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                          Yes, it sounds like we're about a generation apart.
                                                          Popcorn air poppers were just beginning to be introduced in my teen years. We all loved popcorn in my household and my mother had a special way to make it without the 'modern' conveniences. I've also taught my children how to do it and so they'll have those old and outdated methods in their memory banks.
                                                          Betty Crocker was and still is my friend...it's how I learned to cook, along with my mother and grandmother, and many of those recipes I'll always use because they're just *better* than any other recipe I've tried. The book I was raised with had a spiral inside to hold the pages. I still have it and will pass it on.
                                                          I still write in cursive and write letters and notes, put a stamp on the envelope, and send it off snail mail. It's part of me, what defines me, and I've, again, taught the long lost communication to my offspring.
                                                          It's interesting how many people comment on beautifully signatured cursive and printing. Young waiters, market checkers, receptionists, etc., are amazed people still write this way...'chicken scratch' is what they call the newbies who don't take the pride in it.
                                                          Gardening is my passion, as my mother's, it's better than any therapist and a world all in it's own.
                                                          All of this is, obviously, out dated and old fashioned to most it seems.
                                                          When I'm long gone from this earth the next generation can be happy all the old is gone and the newly invented, high tech, innovative and 'better' ways to do things will be all that's left....the torch will be passed. Until then, I'll enjoy my ways and continue to live like the dinosaur I'm becoming.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            Bein' an anachronism is fine. Hell, I just mowed my lawn and cleaned my gutters this morning. I can't really respect guys who don't change their own oil or use electric smokers. Nevertheless, the Earth is spinnin', things will always be changing, and bemoaning kids and parents who don't adhere to "our" ways is just silly.

                                                            As to cursive writing, that seems to me to be one step away from pictures on a cave wall. Mrs. Z gets paid to hand letter for folks. Like you, she and I still send notes through the "post". I've never seen her use "textbook" cursive, but I have seen her notes stuck on more than a coupla fridges. Why should there be a rule to the way to write? Why can't each soul find their own hand as they may their own voice?

                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                              <Bein' an anachronism is fine>

                                                              Ha. Anyone who knows me knows that is *definitely* not where I'm coming from. Quite the opposite, actually.
                                                              The only thing I refuse *not* to do is some of the technological social networking...there's too much negativity in it among young children who're finding themselves feeling 'less than' compared to those who have more friends than they do etc....what adolescent needs one more reason to feel inferior? I refuse to partake, it's not necessary for me.
                                                              Other than that? My life takes me to places/people/situations most find unimaginable. I'm definitely not left behind, I really don't care what other parents are doing because it's really their choice, so there's really no argument from me, MGZ.

                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                Hell, I was referring to each of us bein' a bit anachronistic. If you read my posts on this thread (as well as many others), you'll see that I hold to some real ol' fashion guy sh*t. I'm just willing to embrace that tomorrow's gonna be different, just like today was. It seems you are too.

                                                              2. re: MGZ

                                                                I've changed my own oil enough to know that I make enough money to pay someone to change my oil for me.

                                                                I'm with you on cursive. I can recall 3rd grade quite vividly having straight A's except a "C" in writing. Even back then I knew good penmanship was not necessary in my future education. I'm glad today's educator's are realizing that. Another anecdote, from my past. I'm 52, by the way. I recall in high school chemistry having to learn to use the slide rule because (even though calculators were affordable for most people) our teachers thought we'd need this knowledge some day. Well, needless to say, I didn't.

                                                                1. re: TroyTempest


                                                                  Though, for what it's worth, I know a lady who says, "Some guys do, some guys pay, I prefer the ones that can do both."

                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                      I left out the "and know when to do which" part of it. My apologies.

                                                                    2. re: TroyTempest

                                                                      <Well, needless to say, I didn't>

                                                                      Most of us don't, TroyTempest. I spend alot of time with people, many of them scientists, who DO remember concepts from high school that have, obviously, benefited them in their careers.
                                                                      I'm one of those people who love listening and engaging with intelligent, well-informed and knowledgable people.
                                                                      They remember dates, historical places/dates/scenarios....things so esoteric it's mind-boggling to hear them recall things I've learned and long ago forgotten. To partake in a conversation with a person like that is not only fascinating but makes the person look credible and knowledgeable...such a turn-on in my eyes.
                                                                      I envision a young child looking at Big Ben and not having the foggiest idea how to read the time. How sad would that be?

                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        Ain't that why you come an' engage us, latindancer?

                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                          "To partake in a conversation with a person like that is not only fascinating but makes the person look credible and knowledgeable...such a turn-on in my eyes."

                                                                          You described my husband. Yes it is, and yes HE is.

                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                            I remember a lot of trivia, history, etc. And a lot of people find me pretty interesting. And on top of that, I made the most 100's on my 3rd grade spelling tests in my class. I just never learned the slide rule. ;)

                                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                                          I wonder if the handwriting thing is a male vs female thing. My dad had horrific handwriting. My mom's is beautiful. My brother's is awful, mine is nice. My dad went to public, mom parochial, but my brother and I went to the same public schools only a few years apart.

                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                            Nah, my FIL and one of my doctors (both taught by nuns) both had/have gorgeous cursive, very feminine looking though. Very neat. My husband went to Catholic school and has really bad cursive, which the nuns really rode him about, but didn't hit him for since he was a good kid and a top student. Daughter writes like husband.

                                                                            I write like crap.

                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                              My father's is awful, my mother's is nice. My brother's is nice, mine is horrific. In my experience it has less to do with genders and more to do with how often during the day the individual is typing either on a keyboard or a phone.

                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                I'm friends with a woman who's owned a stationary shop all of her adult life and her handwriting is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. Her story is....the Sisters at the parochial school she attended, while growing up, stood over her and the other students with a ruler *making* her write the alphabet, both cases, over and over again until the cursive and printing was the way they said it should be.
                                                                                It's paid off...

                                                                                  1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                    It's so beautiful :).
                                                                                    Thanks, I didn't know there was a term for it.

                                                                                    1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                      Yes, I can still write perfect Palmer script. But it is *so* slow! If I write a quick script, it is illegible even to me a day later. So the most practical way for me to write reasonably quickly and legibly is to *print*. Y'know, what we learned before script, each letter separate, not scripted together.

                                                                                  2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                    The handwriting thing is a matter of priorities for some (I.e., is it worth the extra time it takes to write beautifully) and mechanics for others. I can write beautifully, and do so, when writing thank-you notes, addressing invitations and other personal correspondence. My "chore penmanship" looks like it belongs to my evil twin. I just don't care enough to make my checks, to-do lists, etc. more than legible. And my daughter has difficulty with fine motor skills. She will never have beautiful handwriting no matter how hard she tries, I fear. With a lot of effort, she can put forth legible, reasonably neat penmanship but it is rare that she feels compelled to take the time to do so. When I was lamenting about her sad penmanship to her teacher a few years ago, I was counseled to not waste the time struggling with her about it...good keyboarding skills is where it's at.

                                                                            2. re: latindancer

                                                                              The first corn popper we had was a wire basket with a sliding lid to use over a fire. My Grandpa Owen raised several kinds of popcorn, none of which popped evenly or reliably (especially in that basket!), so my first home-popped had a lot of burnt and/or very crunchy kernels scattered amongst the popped stuff. We put up with that for a while for the fun of it, but soon gave up in favor of a pan on the stove.

                                                                              julejulez has it right: if you're raised in a family that grows food and cooks food and enjoys food, you'll have a head start on the skills and probably an interest in using them. I didn't start cooking seriously until I was over thirty, but once I understood that it's almost impossible to ruin good food, to render it inedible, without doing something monumentally stupid, the whole thing became so easy and enjoyable I couldn't believe I'd waited so long. Gardening is another matter - my thumb is every color but green, but Mrs. O more than makes up for that.

                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                That's a great one: growing popcorn. I doubt many kids raised with the microwave stuff have a clue that there are varieties of popcorn crops. First ones I grew were back in the 70s, when I was in high school.

                                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                  <pan on the stove>

                                                                                  I remember the wire basket with the sliding lid...an aunt of mine had one. I haven't seen one of those in many years :).
                                                                                  Yes, the pan on the stove method was my mother's method.

                                                                                  The only frozen, premade food we had growing up was fish sticks and an occasional TV dinner when my parents went out...and ice cream of course. Other than that everything was made from scratch, baked goods and everything else.
                                                                                  I wanted to learn how to do those things but if I hadn't shown the interest I suppose my interests would have something to do with 'outside with nature' because that's where we spent the majority of our time as children...outside dreaming up things to do. Never inside with a computer in our face, thankfully :).

                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                    No chicken pot pies?

                                                                                    What other 'frozen, premade foods' were there?

                                                                                    Making things from scratch is relative. The white flour you used was highly refined, maybe even bleached. To make bran muffins, you probably used prepared bran cereal.

                                                                                    At one time, when living in another country, my parents bought half a barrel of whole wheat grain from a neighboring farming. Periodically they'd take a few killos of that to a small scale miller to be cracked. They then sifted it (with wood frame horse hair sifters). What pass through was used as whole wheat flour; the rest cooked as cracked wheat cereal.

                                                                                    Now I can go to a nearby natural foods market (or Whole Foods) and buy dozen different flours, whole grains, and rolled grains.

                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      <What other 'frozen, premade foods' were there?>

                                                                                      I have no idea, not much I don't think. The mothers, other than mine, were 'to-the-core' domestics and wouldn't have fed their children any of it unless they had to.
                                                                                      "Making things from scratch"...it's exactly how it sounds.
                                                                                      My mother didn't use 'prepared bran cereal' to make bran muffins. We didn't eat processed breakfast cereals....we ate extremely healthy. She grew everything in a garden, fruit trees for our fruit and everything we ate usually was 'whole grain'...
                                                                                      there was never a day that went by that we weren't eating large salads, fresh vegetables and fruit from the land she planted.

                                                                                    2. re: latindancer

                                                                                      My mother was a 50s wife and homemaker, yet she did not cook from scratch very often. She was in the Midwest and while she was considered a 'gourmet cook', everything she did started out from a can or box, including her great spaghetti sauce and wonderful cakes of spice, almond, etc., that she sent me during college.
                                                                                      There was very little produce in our Midwestern small town, so the cans and boxes had a place. I think she was in the transition that was common to cooking 'Betty Crocker'. A time when women made many things creating elaborate meals, and meals that were above the usual fare, but did not require 'from scratch' preparation. She knew about everything that came in a can or box! She used to run thru the local Piggly Wiggly calling out for the the "ondeeeeeeeve" (endive) and greatly embarrassing me!

                                                                                      1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                        "No, it's absolutely pronounced ahn-deeve! Why isn't this working?" ;)

                                                                                        1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                          I have those days firmly placed in my memory bank.... I loved them :).

                                                                                  2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                    Why do they need $25,000? That seems like a lot. A garden should mostly be sweat equity as a cost.
                                                                                    Mine cost maybe $600-$1000, but It's a raised bed made from fieldstone, filled with delivered compost. But a garden Doesn't have to be that fancy

                                                                                    1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                      It probably involves more than just materials, it may involve staff salaries or stipends to plan, organize and supervise it.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                        Right. This is a 'government garden'.

                                                                                      2. re: peanuttree

                                                                                        This is what it says: "The money would be used to buy: soil fit for gardening, irrigation system, decomposed granite for pathways, tools need to maintain the garden (i.e. shovels, rakes, hoses, buckets) vegetables, seeds, fruit trees, organic fertilizers, instructional materials for the teacher/students, planters and fencing."

                                                                                        The top prize is the $25k, then there are 15 "runner up" grants of $10,000.

                                                                                        I imagine they will have it as a pretty large garden, if trees are involved. The fencing alone is probably pretty pricey.

                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                          lol, actually not necessarily. Most of th $25,000 is probably eaten up by all that material. You'd be surprised how quickly that many amenities add up in cost.

                                                                                      3. re: juliejulez

                                                                                        Holy Guacamole! $25K to start a garden? Seems a bit high to me.

                                                                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                          See my post above that details what it includes.

                                                                                      4. I volunteer with two groups of kids in my Master Gardener organization. One is as chair of the Junior Master Gardeners, who are 9 to 12 year olds who are working toward their JMG certification. It involves activities in horticulture, food, community service, setting goals, science, etc. These kids understand where food comes from, are willing to taste just about anything, and are always interested enough to ask lots of questions. They are eager, funny, smart, and obviously come from families who care about what their children do, what they learn, and what they eat.
                                                                                        My other activity is working on Saturdays in our MG demonstration garden with teens, 14 to 17, who have been sentenced by Juvenile Court to an amount of hours of community service. Many of them don't know a thing about food or where it comes from, nor are they as willing to try unfamiliar foods as the younger kids. Very few of them have ever worked in a garden at all, but most of them take to it like a duck to water. Every week, they learn about the mechanics of gardening, and when the vegetables are ready in the summer, we teach them how to make pizza , salads and salsa with their own tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs. It's a thrill to see the ones who continue to come each Saturday for weeks after their service hours are finished, just so they can keep working in their own gardens, and even to spend time with adults who really enjoy their company. It's great for us, the adults, too, to know that we've had some impact on the appreciation the teens have for the natural world around them, and for the foods they eat.
                                                                                        With each group, the youngsters and the teens, it is just so fun to see them learn- We try to make it fun for them, too, and I think that's the key to our success with these programs.

                                                                                        1. things "kids today" are clueless about??

                                                                                          Eating food without taking a picture of it.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                              Don't know your age, but my children do not take pics of their food, I do. It is more a yuppie/millennial thing than the kids under legal age today.

                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                Double guilty but never in public at a proper dinner table.

                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                  i see more grown-ups doing this than kids.

                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                    On a related note...
                                                                                                    "Teens told researchers there were too many adults on Facebook and too much sharing of teenage angst and inane details like what a friend ate for dinner."

                                                                                                    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-poll-tee...

                                                                                                2. There's probably a lot to be concerned about these days, in particular the way controlling parenting is limiting the ability for children to problem-solve independently and manage disappointment. And there is the impact of the prevalence of screens, which foster demand for instantaneity and constant connectivity and they erode the capacity to acquire knowledge.

                                                                                                  (And sorry, but this is not an 'every generation complains' issue; or rather, a precise consideration of issues facing this generations and the problems that arise.)

                                                                                                  HOWEVER, and here we get to food: Food is not really among the problems. Or rather, this remains a class issue rather than a generational one. Why would someone who encounters mostly toaster waffles comprehend a waffle iron on immediate glance (although we could argue that the absence of critical thinking may be due to one of the issues outlined above). Raw chicken is gross to some, and if someone has been dealing with cheap, pre-processed goods, there is a chance that there has been little contact.

                                                                                                  I think it's great that food education takes place where it can (particularly if it is divested of the ugly 'obesity epidemic' language which faults a body type rather than actually considers matters of health and nutrition). So do keep at it.

                                                                                                  But it might be useful to lay off on the judgements and the assessments of entire generations. Frankly, I think as a generation, given the wealthy foodie parents out there, there is more opportunity to fetishise and valourise this kind of knowledge as well as to acquire it. (Or as I wrote above, just keep sticking with ways to improve their knowledge- that can be a function of education.)

                                                                                                  I will hold my tongue about the issue of writing skills.

                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                    "And sorry, but this is not an 'every generation complains' issue; or rather, a precise consideration of issues facing this generations and the problems that arise."

                                                                                                    Yes, it is. Every generation faces issues not faced by the generations before it. Things may progress faster now, but, think about it, could the parents of the second half of the 1910's relate to the issues faced by their sons? Could those sons who survived understand the issues faced by their offspring in the nuclear age?

                                                                                                    I do, however, agree with you about the fact that the issue is more socio-economic than generational. In fact, I don't think I really disagree about the basic thesis you offer. I just that there will always be a responsibility for the older and wiser to figure out how to embrace the changed issues to help. I find connectivity to be a way to acquire knowledge not handicap the capacity to do so.

                                                                                                    I mean, there was clearly a cultural revolution spawned by baby boomers who faced different issues than those before 'em. Their kids faced other issues after that. So long as things change, the issues will change. That's the point. The key is to figure out those issues and do one's best to try and embrace the benefits that can come from 'em and avoid the detriments.

                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                      Still thinking about this . . . .

                                                                                                      I guess, where we have some split is that I can't help but wonder if it matters that we, as an older generation, insist upon tryin' to force kids to maintain adherence to insignificant old notions and approaches if the purpose behind 'em no longer exists. By way of example, in the food world, even the FDA has come to realize that pork need not be cooked past 145 anymore.

                                                                                                      Moreover, why should we hold to something as archaic and irrelevant as "cursive" writing? If it's ok that we no longer speak/write in Chaucer's English, than isn't it ok that we can someday embrace a language that starts to fuse new words and spellings? I spose, at bottom, I don't see the point in teaching wagon wheel manufacturing unless I'm asked.

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                        I stopped using cursive as soon as I could, roughly 4th grade. My excuse is that I'm a leftie with a hook. My writing has gotten worse with age, especially since now I type nearly everything. Come to think of it, the typing class that I took in highschool has been more valuable to me than all the cursive writing hours in earlier years.

                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                          I skipped 3rd grade when cursive was taught so I never learned it. I was taught to write my first and last name, never my middle name. When I took the law boards we had to write in cursive that we are who we are and are taking the test for the correct reasons. I had to raise my hand and say I couldn't do it. Slightly embarrassing. Lefty here also, but no hook.

                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                            I take it you were considered a protected class?

                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              When I took the CT Bar exam, I was allowed to submit a writing sample in 'print' as I attested that I did not write cursive as a daily use. At the exam, a proctor compared my first essay with the writing sample, and then I was allowed to complete the exam.

                                                                                                          2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                            You're so right. My grandmother insisted on cooking pork to AT LEAST 160. You know, to make sure she "cooked the worms out."

                                                                                                          3. re: MGZ

                                                                                                            MGZ, a reference to the way adults forever bemoan the 'rudeness' of children is understood.

                                                                                                            However, it not effective in thinking through issues facing people. I'm not saying we all need to clutch our pearls when it comes to cursive, but we do need to think through what are the perceived changes and why they might be taking place. Again, note that the original reference is to rudeness, not to dwindling competence, memory, knowledge acquisition, problem solving, and empathy. Of course, none of these have to do with food, so I'll shut up.

                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                              Perhaps, we should simply agree that the responsibility for the next generation is that of the ones before it. We don't need to see eye to eye on how to carry such responsibility. For, the way I see it, complaining about the shortcomings of the young is like complaining that a plant one failed to water died.

                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                Yes, I am agreed. This is why I think about the next generation-- not to throw my hands up in disdain or despair, but to find out what I can do to change it.

                                                                                                        2. There are just as many examples we can point to where food education is thriving. If educators want to bring more experiential learning into their classroom, great! Go up the chain of command and fight for your kids to have more exposure. But, in community there appears to be a disconnect btwn lamenting over our failures and laboring to fix the issues, issues teachers face every year.

                                                                                                          What happened to the basic show & tell? What happened class trips and guest speakers? We know these fundamentals got pushed out. More reason than ever to push back.

                                                                                                          There is also a new, bigger reality to face in education: when adults in the position of authority get lazy kids suffer.

                                                                                                          1. If education was really all about preparing our young people for their future, the schools would be requiring them all to learn about gardening, animal husbandry, and having a daily regimen of physical exercise so, when the time comes, they would be able to carry out these necessary chores. It's now an accepted fact that these kids aren't going to have a life as good as their parents and grandparents, but few have entertained the notion that they may end up living in a country where life more resembles that of their much earlier ancestors. jmho

                                                                                                            1. I think you need to put this in perspective. Kids who grow up in urban environments are obviously going to have less of an understanding of the provenance of their food than those who grow up on farms. Kids who grow up in poor or working class families with no stay at home parent and no household help are going to be exposed to less cooking from scratch and gardening than families where there is a stay at home parent and/or domestic employees who do the drudge household chores (laundry, cleaning,etc), freeing up the working parent to still find time for cooking.

                                                                                                              I say this from a personal perspective, having been raised in the 60s by a single mother who worked outside the home in an era when this was so rare that the terms "childcare," "latchkey child," "stay at home mom," etc. were not even in the lexicon. While we were not poor, we certainly were not affluent and there was no domestic help (and no clothes drier or dishwasher either). Mom got dinner on the table every evening after a full day at work. The range of convenience foods then -- in a pre-microwave era -- were far fewer than now so we probably had more exposure to real cooking than today's kids. But vegetables, with the exception of farmstand corn in the summer, almost always were from a box pulled out of the freezer. Birthday cakes were courtesy of Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker mixes. And, my mother was probably one the earliest buyers of Pillsbury slice and bake chocolate chip cookies. Of course, in those years, schools taught home ec, so I learned about cooking and baking from scratch there, as well as from a friend in high school whose mother was an avid cook and baker.

                                                                                                              Anyway, I think it's great that you are exposing these children to lessons about real food, but I think you need to be less judgmental about their ignorance. Schools have largely ditched home ec in favor of devoting their limited resources to hardcore skills like reading and math. As a largely self-taught cook, I can attest that reading and math are pretty necessary to cooking too (as well as a lot of other life skills).

                                                                                                              1. Wow, reading your post makes me happy my children are able to go to the school they do. Because they have to learn all of the things you say these other children are not being taught. Sad commentary on our current school districts.... And I am thankful my Mom, though a full time worker in the '70s, still came home and made dinner for my sisters and I every night, and we made a plate and kept it for my Dad who worked a second job most nights. Then we would clean up the kitchen. That is how I'm raising my children now. Though it is nice to rely on convenience foods, and sometimes I have no choice but to on busy school nights, I am glad my boys will not grow up and be clueless. And yes, manners at the table figure VERY prominently.

                                                                                                                1. I always want to respond to yesterday/today/tomorrow threads, but I'm concerned I'll sound ... techno nerd?

                                                                                                                  I spent a few minutes sorting through my cabinets-- I don't know how to make adobo or "curry" seasonings from scratch, can't define chow-chow without reading the label, don't know the names of the lettuces/greens in my mixed box -- but I know I can find the answers to all of that online.

                                                                                                                  I think so many people are on the cusp of several generations -- many of us had grandparents who raised and slaughtered their own everything, and we have kids/grands who've never seen "A Farm." Complicated food processes are so normal as to be unnoticed [pasta shaped like dinosaurs, anyone?] and food from anywhere seems to be readily available.

                                                                                                                  Who today thinks about where nonKosher gummy bears "come from," how fat free dressings are a colloid, or that portabellas are just big old buttons?

                                                                                                                  Our elders were inundated with the wonders of mechanical technology-- one of my dad's favourite stories is about staining their ceiling when he and his brothers caused a margarine colour packet to explode as they were violently mixing in the yellow. My grandmother talked about going to the Cannery with bushels of tomatoes and other vegetables every summer.

                                                                                                                  Kids these days are going to have to explain tuna in a can, sushi as a highly unusual dinner out, and a refrigerator that didn't know its own contents [and perhaps, The Big Gulp].

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                    interesting, but I dunno if I buy it

                                                                                                                    I'm gonna make a point of letting my kids know the simple stuff like potatoes grow from other potatoes, and flowers need to be pollinated (also, the pollination thing makes it easier to explain the birds and the bees when they get older, I dunno why anybody uses that anymore).

                                                                                                                  2. Interesting observations. It sounds as though you work in a public school and not a private school. Is that correct?

                                                                                                                    1. I get that people have been saying this stuff for years about "the younger generation", and there are considerations that nowadays some kids may not have actualy seen this stuff, but, come one, not knowing about waffle irons and popcorn?

                                                                                                                      When I think about it a little I've got to comically ask myself if they've got negligent parents. Who doesn't make waffles with their kid!? Half the reason I want to make some kids is for moments like that, on the weekends when I take them to a diner for pancakes, or at home just making waffles.
                                                                                                                      The other side of that coin I guess is maybe not everybody wanted or likes their kids in the first place, which itself is a terrible and screwy aspect of our times (the near-abandonment of deliberate and for-enjoyment child creation and rearing). But even in that case, if you've got 'em, you might as well enjoy 'em! Make some damned waffles with your kids!

                                                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                        Playing the other side:

                                                                                                                        How about -- people don't buy a unitasker that costs $50 when good frozen waffles are easy to toast; but, they'll make pancakes with their kids?
                                                                                                                        A waffle iron could be seen as just a funny-looking panini or "Geo F" grill.

                                                                                                                        What typical experiences would a kid have today that would expose them to non-microwave popcorn? Even camp would have popcorn in a metal pan with a "puffing" top.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                          The 2013 solution to supermarket frozen waffles -


                                                                                                                          You can also put biscuit dough, cornbread batter, I've spooned quick bread batter in these.. For waffles, I make a batch or two, freeze them in bags of 4 or 5, and if someone wants waffles, haul 'em out and toast them. Beats Eggos and even TJ's frozen Belgium waffles all to hell.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                            Really? Damn, people nowadays really are scraping the bottom of the barrel, but I guess you're right, few people do it the old-fashioned way anymore. But that's the fun of it, seing it pop.

                                                                                                                            And frozen waffles don't compare to fresh-made. And waffle irons aren't that expensive

                                                                                                                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                              My parents had a waffle iron with reversible plates. With the flat side out, we made grilled cheese sandwiches (no one used the Italian term back then). Now I have small waffle iron, and a separate panini press. And some where in storage there is stove top waffle iron.

                                                                                                                              I don't recall anything special about making waffles with my son. However we did make other special foods together, often at his own instigation (pasta, horchatta, fufu, injera, Turkish delight).

                                                                                                                            2. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                              Pretty sure my parents wanted and liked me and they never once made waffles with or for me. Hm, well, now I don't know, maybe all those years of having me get my own bowl of Cheerios was really a passive aggressive way of saying "you were an unwelcome accident?"

                                                                                                                              1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                Funny thing is, one needs to learn rules and take tests to get a license to drive a car, but creating a new life?

                                                                                                                                1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                  Damn, I've never made waffles for my son either and he was definitely planned. Maybe I'll give him a few more years of wondering.

                                                                                                                                2. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                  <Who doesn't make waffles with their kid!?>

                                                                                                                                  My mother didn't make waffles with me.
                                                                                                                                  My grandmother didn't make waffles with me.
                                                                                                                                  My father didn't make waffles with me.
                                                                                                                                  My aunt who lived next door didn't make waffles with me.

                                                                                                                                  When we moved, my other two aunts, who lived across the street, didn't make waffles with me.

                                                                                                                                  I was very wanted, however. Adored, cherished, and revered is closer to the truth (it was quite smothering at times, to be honest).

                                                                                                                                  The only one who had even a hint of a scintilla of a whisper of a resentment that I had been born -- and I'm not naming names -- introduced me to eating and making Italian food. And Italian food is better than waffles. So how unloved could I have been?

                                                                                                                                  We ate pancakes instead of waffles.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                    I'll weigh in. I've never seen anybody make waffles and never used a waffle iron. My parents had 3 more kids after me and Mom homeschooled all of us. I'm pretty sure we were wanted. If I want waffles, I can just get one at IHOP.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                      They're more fun to make and eat at home with a German Shepherd barking her head off every time the waffle iron buzzes because she thinks it's the doorbell, however. ;) Ah, childhood memories of 216.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                        I mean, if the waffle iron comes with a complimentary German Shepherd, I'm in :)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                      Waffles require a special piece of equipment. If one's apartment is tight on space, a waffle iron takes up valuable real estate. Which could possibly be used for a hand mixer, extra skillet, coffee maker (so that one can avoid buying a daily coffee), or electric kettle. And frozen toaster waffles are just so darned convenient :) I don't eat a lot of wheat product, and whenever my husband makes waffles, I want to have one, just to keep him company. But really, I'd like to get him some great quality frozen ones, and then just eat an egg or something else instead.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                        my kids use a saucepan on the stove to boil water. One of them does not have a microwave in her flat. Just a stove/range.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                          frankly, in order to reduce personal household waste, I recommend purchasing pre-washed salad greens for smaller households. The pre-washed greens are more likely to be consumed than any sort of lettuce which needs to be washed, dried and torn. And at $2.99/head for lettuces, a box of mixed greens is good value.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                                            I buy the pre washed torn (or usually spring mix) purely to have it available for salads to take to work for lunch. I find that not having to spend the time of washing and tearing lettuce in the morning makes it much more likely that I'll pack a salad for lunch -- still cheaper, healthier, and tastier than most lunches I'd otherwise buy.

                                                                                                                                            For the 2 of us for dinner, I buy leaf lettuce -- typically red leaf but sometimes romaine. I find that a head of red leaf will keep for about 1 week in the fridge and romaine for 10 days to 2 weeks (might have to discard a few outer leaves) so we generally manage to consume it before it spoils.

                                                                                                                                        2. I had to think of my grandparents.

                                                                                                                                          They grew up in very comfortable circumstances in pre WWII America. One grandmother's family had a cook and kitchen maid and the children of the family were expressedly prohibited from going into the kitchen as to not bother the servants plus kitchens were seen as "dangerous" places. It was always expected that my grandmother would have her own cook so she never learned to cook.

                                                                                                                                          The other grandmother's family was merely upper middle class but they still had a maid who did most of the cooking. This grandmother learned to make a few "fancy" dessert dishes, which was the norm for girls of her background. But everyday regular cooking? When she was engaged she had to take a few cooking lessons from the family's maid in preparation for married life as she was to be a lowly army officer's wife without household help at the onset of her husband's career.

                                                                                                                                          And, of course, none of the men really ever cooked other than to put together a sandwich. Even today I doubt my father has a clue as to how to make something as simple as mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                                          Just a different perspective about the past....

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                            Interesting thought and one I hadn't considered. I can fairly say I'm a better cook than my mom. She does the basics but never expanded beyond that. But, she had a maid growing up who did all the cooking. I've never actually seen my grandmother "cook"- just assemble pre-made and canned/boxes items. Makes sense now that I think about it. I didn't learn to cook very well from her but so what? I've practiced and taken cooking classes and asked friends and haunted Chowhound.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                              That's an excellent point. Before about WWII, I think, hiring help was relatively cheap, so even at a merely upper middle class level it was normal to have a servant or two. Girls brought up in that situation might be taught how to manage the servants and plan a menu, and how to arrange a table prettily, but not necessarily how to actually cook the meal. And boys wouldn't be taught anything about cooking.

                                                                                                                                              Poor people, of course, would do their own cooking.

                                                                                                                                              Now it's reversed - it's kids from the lower end of the economic scale that tend to be ignorant about the basics of cooking, because it's economically better to work full time and buy pre-made food than have someone at home making everything from scratch.

                                                                                                                                              If you read pre-WWII kid's literature, it's common to have well to do girls in their teens who were remarkably ignorant about food preparation or basic housekeeping - to the point of not knowing whether hard-cooked eggs were cooked in water, or a bare pan.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit


                                                                                                                                                Born in Pasadena, California, in 1912, Child did not learn to make meals from her mother. Her family employed a cook, but “Bon Appetit!” experiences were few. ...
                                                                                                                                                Living in Washington, DC, after the war, Child began to learn to cook, but not until the couple moved to Paris, where in 1948 Paul took a job with the United States Information Agency, did she delve into the creation of great cuisine in a meaningful way, including classes at the legendary Cordon Bleu....

                                                                                                                                            2. Well in my dotage, I must admit I have never learned how to kill, pluck and dress a chicken or a hog, so I guess it's part of "progress".

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                I still do. It is easier and cheaper to get it out of styrofoam at the market.

                                                                                                                                                There are many lost skills. I replaced my slide rule with a 6 function calculator for over $100 in 1973. Gas was about 40 cents a gallon. Map reading is an arcane skill primarily used by those in transportation and the military. Find your place on the globe using a sextant and two stars. Try naming three stars. For those that live in an area that the light pollution hasn't washed them out.

                                                                                                                                                Dear daughter buys a new mobile device about once a year. My cell phone is at least 6 years old.She enjoys food and searching out new places, but is not a cook.. Working full time and getting a degree does not allow much free time. I don't feel it is a shortcoming of hers as she is happy as things are.

                                                                                                                                                Different skills for different times. Rather than spending hours in the library researching cuisines and recipes, I now spend a few minutes on the net. I have watched adults tear up over nasty stuff they have found on their facebook page. And my daughter was appalled that rather than obey the verbal directions of her GPS, I took a shortcut that got us there much faster.

                                                                                                                                                And I am not worried about a reliance on frozen, premade, canned ingredients. Some of the most creative cooks I have ever known had only a small jar of hot sauce and Meals, Ready to Eat as their ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                  "Try naming three stars."

                                                                                                                                                  Paris Hilton
                                                                                                                                                  Kim Kardashian
                                                                                                                                                  Justin Bieber

                                                                                                                                                  Oh wait...never mind.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                    I follow an RV travel forum, and people (often retirees) are always asking 'how's this road in my 40 foot pusher with toad'). My advise usually is, look at the road with Google Maps with terrain mode turned on. You can see every curve and estimate every grade. With their streetview you can see the actual roadway. The amount of information that we have at our fingertips is astounding.

                                                                                                                                                    The same is true with food and cooking. Some will just use their phone to order out pizza or Chinese. Others will use the net to research that unlabeled ugly fruit/vegetable that they just bought at a multi-ethnic market.

                                                                                                                                                    Kids, if anything, have an advantage when it comes to using this glut of information.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                    Oh it isn't that hard. Basic anatomy and a few tips - a few youtube videos and you're set.

                                                                                                                                                    I'd never cleaned an animal before, but when my little brother defended my garden from a rabbit, I was pretty easily able to skin and gut and clean him.

                                                                                                                                                  3. It really just depends on the kid.

                                                                                                                                                    Several years ago I managed the produce department of a natural foods store. It was located near a University and a College so a lot of young adults came in.

                                                                                                                                                    Their awareness ranged greatly. Some were completely unaware that there were seasons for different fruits and vegetables and were irate that out of season berry prices were so much higher than in season prices. Others were passionate about their food and one fellow had developed a spray system
                                                                                                                                                    for growing soiless microgreens when he was in high school. He's level of knowledge was so deeply specific that I had very little understanding of what he was talking about.

                                                                                                                                                    I am amazed at the constant level of activities that many kids have. I think that cuts into the amount of home time they have for observing/learning cooking, etc. Couple that with working parents who may just wanted to have a few minutes to themselves so they can prepare dinner quickly and the exposure lessens even more.

                                                                                                                                                    For many kids food is another part of life which is provided, like clean laundry and a tidy home. How groceries got there and what to do with them isn't considered until they leave home and begin to take on cooking for themselves.

                                                                                                                                                    1. It has been suggested that generational ignorance can come from a perceived lack of relevance of the information also, of course, from a lack of an effort to educate. To define an entire generation will produce only a loosely fitting generalization and/or a straight jacket observation which is easily and frequently disproved. However there is value in noting generational differences and trends to help define the evolution of a society. That fact that previous generations have noted changes does not invalidate the observations of current generations or the effect that those changes may have on future generations. Love your specific examples of every day items.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I just want to note that even older folks would be aghast that you weren't using one of these over a fire to make popcorn, instead of that new fangled stove: http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/4...

                                                                                                                                                        I don't miss dialing the phone, either. :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. Sadly, **I** didn't know how to do laundry until I went to college. I've fixed that for my kids! :-)

                                                                                                                                                            For my kids: the lack of ability to occupy themselves without electronic stimulation drives me insane.

                                                                                                                                                            Sadly, the should probably know more about cooking than they do, but we are making baby steps in that direction. Mostly it's because I don't deal well with the chaos/mess in the kitchen when I'm not doing it myself.

                                                                                                                                                            1. I'm a child of the sixties, and I was kind of shocked to realize that you could make a cake without a box of cake mix...or rice pilaf without a box of rice-a-roni. I will say that most of my teenage children's friends are kind of astonished when we make popcorn in a pan (the microwave stuff just can't compare), and a fellow parent was stunned when I told her that I don't buy cartons of iced coffee...I pour my leftover coffee into a jar with sweetened condensed milk and store it in the fridge. (She said, "You mean that iced coffee is just coffee? Like the usual kind? And you just make it cold?") And this is a smart woman, too, it had just never occurred to her that 'iced' coffee was just, well, coffee...iced. My kids aren't really learning cursive, though...the emphasis is all on keyboarding. I understand, but it makes me kind of sad.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tonifi

                                                                                                                                                                Ok, the iced coffee one is good... Even my "only eats instant food" ex was able to ice his own coffee if push came to shove. Oh well, someone on some page out there is telling about the time I wrote "all intensive purposes" instead of "intents and purposes" because I'd only ever heard it said, never written. We all have our dumb moments.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tonifi

                                                                                                                                                                  My engineer father (who can assemble complex machinery sans instructions) has a tough time with cinnamon sugar. He swears that it is more than just cinnamon and sugar. I assure him it isn't and he thinks I'm pulling his leg.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tonifi

                                                                                                                                                                    I am also a child of the 60s. Since so much of this discussion has centered around popcorn, I must confess that I was dumbfounded to learn that you can take a dried up ear of corn, put it in a paper bag, put it in the microwave, and pop it. My kids taught me.

                                                                                                                                                                    The one thing that always baffled them completely was rotary dial phones.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QVPUI...

                                                                                                                                                                    Irish comedian Dave Allen on teaching kids to tell time.

                                                                                                                                                                    '... now be a good boy and learn to read the clock, and I'll buy you a digital watch.'

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Eh, I find it hard to get too worked up about generational cluelessness. My dad was very proficient with an abacas from his boyhood school days. Me, not so much. Even though I use computers/smartphones/web stuff daily, my kids can run circles around me in that department. Cursive writing? Not a big deal for me, frankly.

                                                                                                                                                                      Of course, as a food lover, I do find it sad that some young people are so cut off from the food chain and cooking basics. That is why I enjoy teaching my own kids and others (through several community orgs) to garden and cook.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I cook fresh food and have a wider knowledge of global cuisine than my parents ever did. And I notice in my community how many 20-somethings are involved in the restaurant/farming/food writing scene.

                                                                                                                                                                        So no, I can't cry too much about these darned young people. I'm pretty sure you'd find plenty of clueless-in-the-kitchen sorts of all ages.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I agree. I was in Burlington, Iowa, for work last month and ended up having a long conversation with a young wait-person about the local food scene. She and her boyfriend were very active in the farmers market - she even went out to her car and gave me a free jar of the honey they make and sell. It was a neat encounter.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Lousy parenting, period...that shouldn't get anyone's delicate panties bunched, right?!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Anecdote:

                                                                                                                                                                            A little while ago, I roasted a pig and smoked a bunch of brisket for a wedding. Before cutting up the pig, I sharpened up a few knives on a whetstone. Before long, I had half a dozen boys gathered around me, fascinated, asking questions, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                            Of course, most people in my generation (and probably even my parents') don't know how to sharpen knives. It's not a necessary skill for the average person, and certainly not a sign of the decline of today's youth that they don't know how to do it. The point... I dunno. I guess it's just that a lot of kids would be interested in all kinds of uncommon skills and can learn them readily - if they have someone who can show em how.

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't miss cursive either, btw. Even my generation, who did learn cursive in school, would have been better off spending that time improving their typing proficiency. Also of note, a lot of people my age (and probably younger) may have lousy penmanship but can have surprisingly elaborate and informed discussions about typeface. It's not really a case that the younger generation doesn't know as much 'stuff' as the older ones did at the same age... they just know different 'stuff.'

                                                                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                              You know how parents hire clowns or princesses or magicians or whatnot to entertain kids at birthday parties?

                                                                                                                                                                              A skilled knife sharpener would a terrific birthday deal for the 8 to 15 year old boy set. "Bring your son and your chefs knife to help celebrate Johnny's 10th!"

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                You should mount your whetstone on a bike, and ride around the neighborhood offering to sharpen knives.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                  "It's not really a case that the younger generation doesn't know as much 'stuff' as the older ones did at the same age... they just know different 'stuff.'"

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep. That's what I've been sayin' all along.

                                                                                                                                                                                  As an aside, I've had a similar experience when using an axe to chop wood for the offset to your knife sharpening exhibition. It's kinda cool and fun, no?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, axes!

                                                                                                                                                                                    My sons are going on a scout camping trip this weekend where the main event is fishing. I asked the older son what he planned to do as he hates fish/fishing/anything fish related. "Chop wood" was his reply. He loves using the axe.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                        "As an aside, I've had a similar experience when using an axe to chop wood for the offset to your knife sharpening exhibition. It's kinda cool and fun, no?"
                                                                                                                                                                                        Definitely. I can't wait till my son's old enough for me to teach all the cool old and/or esoteric skills I woulda been pumped to learn as a boy, if someone had been able to teach me.

                                                                                                                                                                                        You can't really force a kid to learn something they don't care about, but I definitely can make a point of regularly exposing him to things and skills beyond what he sees in his everyday life... even if that means I have to broaden my own horizons in the process. My experiences with kids have convinced me that many of em have much more diverse interests than adults give em credit for.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                          Me too, and I find parents are too often timid to let their kids try new things, figure things out on their own (after basic instruction) and god forbid, fail the first dozen times.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Chopping wood, fishing, knife skills, axe,....yeah Mom & Dad arrive with a first aid kit and horror stories before Sally or Johnny even show up in the woods!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Kids are ALSO clueless because some parents act like circus nets.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                            Over the weekend, I let my five year old nephew help me replace the plugs in my old Buick. He had a blast. Got some dirt on his face. And I promised that when I find and replace the water pump, I'll take him for a ride and let him sit in the rumble seat.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Mom and Dad dragged him immediately into the bathroom to wash his face and hands - when they weren't scowling their disapproval at me.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                        "I guess it's just that a lot of kids would be interested in all kinds of uncommon skills and can learn them readily - if they have someone who can show em how.'

                                                                                                                                                                                        Excellent point. I would add that if a kid sees an adult that is really enthusiastic about something whether it be restoring antiques or playing a musical instrument or cooking from scratch, that child will most likely become interested and want to do the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                          "I would add that if a kid sees an adult that is really enthusiastic about something whether it be restoring antiques or playing a musical instrument or cooking from scratch, that child will most likely become interested and want to do the same thing."

                                                                                                                                                                                          I completely agree, as that has been my experience on all three counts.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                            As do I, and it doesn't have to be Mom and Dad as teacher either. I lost my Dad early (10 yrs) and my Mom when I was 33, plenty of folks from all across my young life stepped up to teach me and help me along. Still do and I'm not a pup anymore (drat!) :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            So, a "teacher" can be anyone with the right purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                              What I think is great, Hill, is that old dogs like us can still step back and learn from the little pups.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                Absolutely and thank god they do!

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. My MOTHER once saw a SODASTREAM machine in my sister's kitchen and had NO IDEA what it was. SAD.

                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL, things "old folks today" are clueless about??

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                            Just tell her it's just a fancier and more expensive seltzer bottle. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                              What is a Sodastream machine? I'm a boomer and I don't live in the US, if that excuses me.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                It's a small machine that carbonates tap water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a Gen Xer and had no idea about Sodastream.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Folks, things kids these days don't know about food and cookware is the kind of thread that only goes marginally well here, but it's sort of on-topic, so we've left the thread up. But general things kids don't know about handwriting, manners, telling time, etc, etc are really off-topic. We ask that people please refocus the conversation on food-related things.


                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Yes...kid are clueless about things from OUR childhood and past, but they aren't clueless about things from THEIR childhood. How many of you could work a microwave at age 12? I certainly couldn't because we didn't have one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think a lot of this is a just a product of the times. Things have certainly changed since we were younger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps an interesting discussion would be what have items from your childhood/past have been replaced by? (Example being the popcorn replaced by microwaveable popcorn...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  66 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that's a fair question, and the answer is: I don't know. I know there are a lot more "convenience foods", but I really don't know what they are, because my mom didn't buy them when I was a kid, and I don't buy them, either. I tend to cook from scratch most of the time, and while I see a lot of fellow shoppers loading up their grocery carts with meal 'kits', I haven't the foggiest idea what they are. I know what Hamburger Helper is (I learned to cook using it when I was about nine, but graduated fairly quickly to stuff not from a box), but there's so much more out there of which I'm blissfully unaware.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                      When teaching my daughters to cook, we'd start at the Hamburger Helper Aisle, to pick a flavour.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then we would "reverse engineer" and assemble the ingredients -- although a packet of Taco Seasoning instead of $40 of bottled spices was okay.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The easiest were Cheeseburger Mac and Creamy Broccoli Tuna Helper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And now, as starving-college-students, D1 and husband still love our "Homemeade HH" Salisbury Steak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Love that! We have done something simliar but for my husbands favorite "sloppy joes" from a can. Gives him the warm and fuzzies, gave me the heebie jeebies so my son and I figured out how to replicate it together (super easy but hey the kid was 4 maybe 5 at the time)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Like the teakettle, which has been largely replaced by the microwave for boiling/heating water for beverages? Sometimes I use my teakettle for just a couple cups' worth of water because I am nostalgic for the sound of a whistling kettle. On of my daughter's friends was over when I was boiling water and just about had a seizure because of the noise the kettle made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought we all had electric teakettles these days, preferably ones without any plastic parts (contacting the water) - at least that's the impression one gets from Cookware threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh! Didint think about my electric kettle having plastic. Should I replace?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I threw out my tea pot a few years back. Never need it. Between the microwave and the K Cup brewer, I'm all set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Think of the poor kids who no longer wake up to the gentle bubbling of the percolator.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The percolator sound was great; the coffee that came out of it...not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Recently, an 80ish year old woman here in CO died because of her percolator. She was making coffee on the stove, with her percolator, and her sleeve caught fire. She ended up being significantly burned and died.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My mom does still use a percolator when camping though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That wasnt a percolator related death, that was a "don't wear long hair or long sleeves loose near an open flame" related death!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My mother used electric perk all her days. I loved the sound and the fragrance, not so much the coffee Camp fire perk is the only exception. :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <That wasn't a percolator related death>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's right.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The same thing could be said about *any* pot or pan placed on an open fire where hair, clothing and hands should be kept away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love my stovetop percolater. Husband turns on the fire every morning, and it's ready and waiting for me. Love the coffee. I HATED my cuisinart coffee pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I drink tea, and have never used anything but a kettle for heating water. Microwaved water has always seemed weird to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How do people make a proper pot of tea using microwaved water with the amount of water you need for warming the pot, etc.?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Our kettle gets a lot of use, in large part because we need to boil drinking water - boil it at night or before going to work, and when it's cool pour it into the britta filter. Plus, there's coffee and tea, and soaking mushrooms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I still use the tea kettle every day to heat water for french pressed coffee. I actually make two batches, caffeinated for me and decaf for spouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All of my friends from Ireland and England, including me, use teakettles for boiling water.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Microwaves would never be used for that purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Polly put the kettle on,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Polly put the kettle on,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Polly put the kettle on,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We'll all have tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (2 hours later)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sukey take it off again,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sukey take it off again,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sukey take it off again,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They've all gone away

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As children's illustrator, Wallace Tripp, interprets this, Polly and Sukey were not models of efficient Victorian kitchen staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I like my teakettle, damnit!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I sing that song, along with playing my piano, every time I heat it up and hear it whistle.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If I have friends over for tea we sing rounds of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Our cooking habits are a product of our times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What I find interesting is that it's never been so easy to be a good cook as it is today with our access to a whole range of labor saving devices, shiny, clean supermarkets with a enormous selection of produce available year round, exposure to so many different cuisines, and yes, that food is generally cheaper than it was in the past. Despite this, many people still shun cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Compare this to a hundred years ago when cooking meant having to tackle troublesome, temperamental coal/wood burning stoves (the Victorian kitchens must have been hell during an American summer), having to cook everything from scratch, having to face the reality of seasonal produce (how tiresome those long winter months must have been), having to do the marketing practically every day, having to always been on the check for spoiled/decayed meats and produce due to the lack of proper refrigeration, and for many people, having to cook three large meals every day for large families with many children. These were all factors that explains why as soon as people could afford it, they hired household help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No wonder that when the first of the packaged, prepared foods arrived on the scene, starting with canned soups, housewives all over America wept with joy. No longer would they be a slave to the kitchen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The indifference of many people towards cooking is a sign of the luxuries of our times as we're now in a position where one can still eat relatively well (and safely) without having to do much cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yep - well said! What amazes me is that people will spend big $ to buy some prepared thing that they could easily make for way less at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Of course, I'm also in the process of my first attempt at making beef jerky. Spent $32 on the meat alone, will spend a couple hours of my time and 8 hours of electricity/gas for the oven. Slim Jim is looking like a good option!! :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Indeed, I think they feel like it will be more difficult. But, I try to make as much as I can at home and rarely buy fully-assembled prepared foods as when I make them at home I know 1) what's in them 2) the nutritional content which is often higher in vitamins and the like and 3) it's easy and 4) tastes better. People are shocked at what I make at home and even my own mother (obviously another generation than myself) is shocked at the things you can make at home. For example..."you can't make mozzarella sticks, you buy them."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The homemade beef jerky is a thing of beauty--go for it! When we hiked the Appalachian Trail (100 years ago), I made our own jerky in an oven, seasoning batches with various spices/herbs (didn't have the $ for a dehydrator), as well as drying most of our food for the whole trek. When the jerky got a bit of mold on it from the humidity of the Trail, I wiped it down with a baking soda/water paste. Probably wouldn't have met food safety guidelines, that, but we didn't die.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love stories like that and I hope people realize how easy it is to make jerky without a dehydrator.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Which spices/herbs do you like to use?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm also interested in the process to make beef jerky and good seasoning recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is my first time at it. I'm going to do it in the oven. Fortunately, mine will go as low as 150. I plan to use the convection - assuming the circulating air can only help the drying process. I'm keeping it pretty simple this time - just some basic soy/vinegar/etc. marinade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Try the technique from the Good Eats cookbook by A. Brown. If you have a box fan, go buy the cheap air filters that are used in home HVAC system that is the closest size to the fan. You want the type with ridges. Place meat across the ridges on the filters and stack them up. IIFC, no more than 3-4 layers. Rubberband them together then strap stack to the front of the fan and turn on the fan at low speed and wait a day or two. Drying without the extra heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It doesn't amaze me. When I buy things that I could prepare easily or cheaper at home, I'm doing it because I don't have the time to do it myself. Being able to go to sleep and not stay up all night cooking is worth spending some extra dough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed about some things. I was in a "make your own bagels" fit a while back. Yes...certainly doable, enjoyable, etc. But...it's also pretty darned easy to run to the local bagel store and buy a dozen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A lot of my more "involved" projects are for the enjoyment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the basic meals, though, I **rarely** buy prepared food...tend to make it at home. I always make extra and freeze for those days when I do need something quick for the family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, it shouldn't amaze anyone that another person has different priorities in life. And at different times in life, as in the difference between working and parenting an active family vs empty nesters or retirees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And just different preferences, too. That food prep time might be the time a person chooses to alot to creating art, playing music, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So do you have rational criteria for deciding what to buy v make? Do you make the bread or the butter? The pie or the cake? Why make the salad dressing, but not the vinegar?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I make what I'm in the mood to make, buy what I'm in the mood to buy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Butter easy to make and takes practically no time. Dump heavy cream into the stand mixer with the paddle. Wrap plastic wrap around the top to prevent splatters. Turn on medium high. Presto, butter in about 3 minutes. Pour through strainer to separate butter from buttermilk. Pack butter into plastic containers. From one quart of cream, I get one pint of butter and one pint of real buttermilk. You can't imagine how much better the butter and buttermilk taste than what you buy. Takes about 10 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I make bread from time to time too, but its more of a commitment. Even if I use the no knead version. So I don't do it very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Making vinegar takes time too. Easy, but not something you do on a whim. Don't usually have mother for vinegar sitting around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But if you have a stand mixer, you should really try making butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bkeats I think I"m going to try that soon. I remember making butter in school by shaking jars, but the mixer idea sounds much better :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love this NPR interview:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            about the book
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Make the Bread Buy the Butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Compare this to a hundred years ago when cooking meant having to tackle troublesome, temperamental coal/wood burning stoves (the Victorian kitchens must have been hell during an American summer), having to cook everything from scratch, having to face the reality of seasonal produce (how tiresome those long winter months must have been), having to do the marketing practically every day, having to always been on the check for spoiled/decayed meats and produce due to the lack of proper refrigeration, and for many people, having to cook three large meals every day for large families with many children."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is why I often give thanks that I was not born in pioneer times. I would have been a wretched, whiny housewife.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A couple of other childhood normalities that have gone by the wayside are heads of lettuce and blocks of cheese. I am sure many kids have no concept of head or leaf lettuce that has to be cleaned, dried, and torn or cut. Likewise, how many kids help in the kitchen by grating cheese? That used to be a regular job for me when helping my mom. I personally don't care for the stuff that comes in bags so much, but if it goes into a recipe where the quality of cheese isn't crucial and time is an issue, I take the easy way out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Really, this is shocking to me that kids don't know about heads of lettuce and blocks of cheese and kind of sad...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jihinwa wrote ' I am sure ', not 'I know kids who'. The first is speculation, the other anecdotal evidence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But why are those tasks significant? How about shelling peas (as Gigi did)? Snapping the strings off green beans? Do old soldiers bemoan the fact that peeling potatoes is no longer a standard part of KP duty? Feeding the chickens? Mucking out the horse stall? Shoveling coal into the furnace? Removing melt water from the ice box?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good catch on my choice of words. I was speculating in general, but I also know a few kids who did not know that lettuce could be purchased in heads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Poor kids! How will they learn important jokes like:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Q: Did you hear about the race between the lettuce and the tomato?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A: The lettuce was a "head" and the tomato was trying to "ketchup"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A kid I know (was about 4 at the time) couldn't believe apples grew on trees. We were going apple picking, and the whole event was explained to him beforehand. When we got to the apple orchard....he could not believe his eyes. "But...mom...but...apples come from the store!!!!!!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's the age where kids are starting to make connections and defining things for themselves. I've heard kids like proclaiming that cookies are round, crackers are square, or that all parks have playgrounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think observations like that should be encouraged. It's more important that they think for themselves than that they get things right. Instead of directly correcting them, I prefer to ask leading questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just curious - what do you think is the appropriate age for a kid to learn this? Because 4 seems about right to me. I wouldn't expect him to emerge from the womb knowing where apples come from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure. My daughter is 2 and can tell you an apple comes from the tree, parsley comes from a plant, and a carrot from the ground. Not sure if she really understands though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nothing wrong with this kid not knowing..,he had never actually seen an apple tree before living in NYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wait until he finds out money does not grow on trees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My kids know about heads of lettuce. One of their most satisfying helping jobs is to slam the iceberg lettuce down (a whole other thread!) in order to get the core out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Grating cheese? No..they're probably not too familiar with that! (Yep - totally wimp out and buy the pre-grated stuff.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know of any who *don't* know about them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can see why some kids wouldn't know about these, but the kids I know all do. Heads of lettuce are usually cheaper than the bagged stuff, so they're still in heavy rotation around me. Blocks of cheese might be less so, but most kids have at least seen a block of cheese put out at a party, where shredded wouldn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't bought a head of lettuce in years, at least not iceberg. I am working on a 3 pack of romaine hearts - from Trader Joes. All the lettuce at TJ is packaged. I do though have a head of Taiwanese cabbage in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, and the stem lettuce - that was at a large Asian grocery, along with a dozen different 'choys'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's access to diverse markets like these that makes a 'head of lettuce' seem pedestrian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think this also depends on where one lives. My big box commercial grocery store has heads of lettuce in 5-6 varieties. Go to whole foods and there is even more. One my sons favorite jobs is using the salad spinner, of which there are many styles available in Walmart, Target, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Same with shredded cheese. Search this site and you will see most everyone here agrees that freshly grated tastes better. While I do buy it for convenience when making certain recipes I routinely grate my own as does everyone I know. The intro of all those different micro planes makes it even easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Search this site and you will see most everyone agrees that freshly grated tastes better." Yep, that is true, but we are here because we are CH's and we make up a minority of the general population. I know lots of people who care about serving their families good food that use the shortcuts because those things help make their busy lives a little easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a pretty busy life with a FT job, an elderly parent that requires a lot of my time, a kid with the usual schedule of sports and other activities, plus a couple of volunteer responsibilities that I love. I love cooking and find
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            even the prep work to be relaxing, which is why I don't use as many shortcuts. If I didn't find the process enjoyable, you bet I would be buying more bagged lettuce, cheeses cheese, sauces in a jar, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sure the people on here may be a minority to you and/or to the general pop but I consider myself very lucky that they are not a minority in my area. I don't think they even know about CH but they sure live the life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think taking short cuts makes one less of a 'hound. I fully admit to that I prefer shredding and grating my own cheese, making my own breads, etc but I happily admit that in certain recipes a bag of shredded cheese, a loaf of commercial bread is just fine, thank you. There are also plenty of “easy” things I could make myself-butter, cheese, catsup, yogurt to name a few, that I don’t routinely make. I don’t believe that makes one less of hound either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think that taking shortcuts make a person less of a 'hound, either. There are lots of things I don't do as well---it's a matter of time and priorities and how much I care about the item involved. I never make bread because I love Dave's Killer Bread and don't have the time or inclination to try and replicate it, for example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My point is that in the day-to-day world of people who get food on the table for their families, there are products today that replace the things we grew up with,such as actual heads of lettuce, and blocks of cheese, to name two. The convenience of those products lead to a generation of kids who aren't familiar with lettuce heads, cheese blocks, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No judgment, just an observation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <gone by the wayside are heads of lettuce and blocks of cheese>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't use lettuce or shredded cheese that come in bags.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Every night/day the heads of lettuce are washed, dried and torn. My cheese(s) are blocks and are either shredded or cut.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think it's as 'ancient' as it seems. Just because those conveniences are there doesn't necessarily mean people are using them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If shelf space is any indication, it appears that in the area I live and shop that more packaged lettuce is sold than heads of lettuce. By a good margin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the dairy section devoted to more everyday types of cheese, same thing. Tons of space devoted to shredded cheese and sliced cheese (not just American, either).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And 50 years ago all those stores sold was iceberg, and maybe some Romaine. Kids would have known what a head of lettuce was, but never heard of bibb, arugula or microgreens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "After the 1940s, with the development of iceberg lettuce, 95 percent of the lettuce grown and consumed in the US was crisphead lettuce. By the end of the century, other types began to regain popularity and eventually made up over 30 percent of production.[41] Stem lettuce was first developed in China, and remains primarily cultivated in that country"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Who has bought stem lettuce? I haven't, though I have seen it in the store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember telling my dad (around 6th grade) that I did not like strong cheese (like the cheddar and blue that he liked); that velveta was just fine. Some 30 years later, my son was talking about double cream brie. Now I have to go online to learn about the latest cheese I just bought (Mimolette, Taleggio, Burrata, etc).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm growing it this season. It's called celtuce Where did yoiu see it in a store? I've never seen it in a store

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <50 years ago all those stores sold was iceberg>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It really depends on where someone is raised. I lived in an area where all the stores had more lettuce selection than iceberg....in fact my mother rarely used it. We also had farmers selling their vegetables/fruits/dairy products on the side of the road.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The same goes for cheese. There were always different varieties, cheddar being the most common but certainly not the only, by far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I remember telling my dad (around 6th grade) that I did not like strong cheese (like the cheddar and blue that he liked); that velveta was just fine."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Likewise here, I thought anything other than american sliced cheese and gjetost (which was a staple in our house) was highly suspect. Swiss cheese was extremely exotic to me. Now I am a total cheese 'hound and my 12-year-old daughter is becoming one quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nonsense. Any football fan knows that blocks of cheese are perfectly acceptable headwear in certain stadia when a certain team is playing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My mom baked quite a bit when I was growing up, and we always had to shell the nuts for the cookies, pastries, etc. Today's kids think they only come in bags, already shelled. But the real travesty is the fact that kids are not learning to use knives and forks because they are used to eating tacos, pizza, hamburgers, etc. I see so many otherwise educated and civilized young adults who hold their flatware like Neanderthals! And don't even get me started on how velcro has made learning to tie one's shoes obsolete!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mothrpoet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Un shelled nut basket is the first thing most of the 5-8yr olds head for at my Uncle's house when there are large family gatherings. They like all the techniques dfferent uncles suggest and the nutcrackers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I did a quick visual shoe survey at school. The only shoes that had velcro had it around the ankles [think bball hightops] and also have shoelaces. In Physics class, an annual lesson is the different ways people tie their shoes and the "best" way to tie for specific purposes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  All is not lost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mothrpoet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <Today's kids think they only come in bags, already shelled>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is an overgeneralization. I think we can take all of these concepts...waffleirons, teakettles, nuts, etc., and attempt to make it look like they're not known about anymore and things have changed dramatically. When, in fact, there *are* kids today who know about how nuts grow and realize they don't come from packages.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kids are learning how to use knives and forks and not all food consumed is crap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mothrpoet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My SO is one of those people who uses his flatware like a Neaderthal. His mom is the casserole queen so it definitely wasn't because he only ate hand held foods. His parents use their flatware appropriately. I don't know what happened with him. I tease him about it though, and he is fully aware that he holds his utensils incorrectly as he jokes about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. FWIW, I just did this run thingy with a young professionals group, and I mentioned how Whole Foods uses real wasabi in their wasabi at the sushi bar (we were eat ing at whole foods after the run), and to explain, I had to mention it's more expensive because it grows in water, and one girl said
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "oh, it grows?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That sank in for a second, then I had to be all like "Yes, of COURSE it grows. When was the last time you ever ate anything that didn't grow? Literally everything you eat is a plant or animal, which means it grows" Didn't say it quite so thoroughly as we all were talking but you get the idea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will admit to having had no idea what wasabi was (until now, thanks google!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. The uneasy feeling of calling your new girlfriend and having a parent answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I recently had to explain to a coworker that 1) the original form of tuna for tuna fish was not flakes and it indeed comes from an actual fish filet. He was shocked when another coworker and I were discussing seared tuna and 2) blue cheese is a cheese and not just a dressing which often has no blue cheese in it or very minimal quantities. I also enjoyed later learning that "oh, when I cook I just turn the oven to 450F. I had a TV dinner once that said to use that temperature so I just put everything in at 450F."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow. That is about as bad as the time Jessica Simpson found out that Chicken of the Sea was not actually a chicken that lived in the sea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Guess I was lucky that I got to tour a tuna cannery around 4th grade. Still I don't recall ever eating the fresh fish before I was adult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Do they still teach Home Ec in schools these days? I do not know what it was like in any other school, but in the one I attended Home Ec included cooking lessons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't speak for now but it was still offered as an elective at my high school... I graduated in 2000. Unfortunately each student only gets 1-2 electives so there weren't too many that took home ec. I always wanted to but band and computer classes took up my electives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    How true! With pressure to get into college the emphasis was on academic electives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I took Latin, Spanish, physics, astronomy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the district where I work, students have "family and consumer science" (home EC) for three years in middle school. The high school has a variety of classes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Foods and Baking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Foods and nutrition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Contemporary living skills
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Child development
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Multicultural foods
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Family and consumer science: skills for success
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Special children- special adults

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All are not offered every year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We used to have interior and fashion design but it got cut after 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I went to private school and was so jealous of my friends who were able to take Home Ec but I seem to have learned some things at home which it seems "kids these days" aren't learning. My teacher actually held a few sessions at her house "well, here's your Home Ec."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I went to private school and was so jealous of my friends who were able to take Home Ec"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        :-) I went to public middle school where Home Ec was offered but went to private prep school after that and was quite jealous of my friends that went to public high school because they got to take classes like Home Ec and Industrial Arts (shop class) while I was sitting in calculus class.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shit, I had to sit through calculus (which actually paid off in college with the AP credits), but had to learn to cook and weld outside. I wish I coulda had Home Ec and Shop in HS instead of Gym and Religion. I mean, I played three sports and was too young to comprehend the concept of "providence" (I thought it was a college in Rhode Island).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In my son's high school in the late 90s, Home Ec and Shop were replaced by technology and health classes. I recall competitions like designing the strongest bridge (with models from sticks), public speaking presentations (he did something with the graphing calculator), and pretend babies (flour sacks). He also took a bicycle safety/maintenance elective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They still run the "flour sack parenting" and "baby egg" programs in our public schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hi, HillJ. I hope you will excuse my ignorance about something called "flour sack parenting" but what is that? I am not being a smart-ass, but I keep my sack of flour in the dark back corner of the pantry. I think I would be arrested and thrown in jail if I treated a child like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In this activity you have to carry that flour sack around all day, and 'care' for it as if it were a real baby. The idea is to simulate the demands that a real baby puts on the parents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    thanks pauj,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it's all there in the file, fowler.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fowler, you are adorable. Stop apologizing when you reach out to me-we're cool friend!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Students are paired off (one boy/one girl) with a 5 lb bag of flour dressed in infant clothing and carried around throughout the school day and at home to recreate the "experience" and responsibility involved in caring for a child. In our public school this program opens the door for educators to talk about parenting, life choices. As part of the assignment, students keep a journal while caring for "the child" and the challenges they encounter...which furthers the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We had something similar. Turned out that the eggs were being "replaced" daily. Instead, we were given a "life" and had to stick to it by writing a very detailed journal with charts and budgets. I think I was a 40yo single mom with 4 kids, part time job making $18k. At the end of the semester, we had to give a presentation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We have a similar program for junior high:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the life program is a requirement of 8th graders before they head to the high school. Each student is partnered with a high school student peer leader and present their "life experience" during the school year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My sons' Cub Scout troop taught them to build strongest structures with sticks & toothpicks. Thankfully they are still a bit young to be taking flour sack parenting classes......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Girl Scouts must become pretty proficient bakers with all those cookies ... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      paulj, we did the bridge competition but it was part of the final for our geometry class in 9th grade. For the record, my friend and I won... we were the ones ones to think of putting the "road" (a piece of thin cardboard) on top instead of the bottom, creating an arc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I will say, not all of us younger folks (I still consider myself young, even though I turn 31 in a week!) were total idiots about food when we were in school. In 9th grade english class we were assigned to do a presentation about something from another country. Me and the 2 boys I was a team with picked japanese food, and we created a full spread, minus sushi, and served it to the class. We had another assignment the 2nd half of the year where the class put on a Shakespeare night. I was in the group that made all the food :) We made minestrone, some kind of anise bread, and these almond cookies. No idea if it was very Shakespearian but we had fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We had it in middle school (this would have been mid 90's). The only thing I remember is that when baking, you should always sift your flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have never sifted my flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The make a bridge competiton was a large part of a 4 day a week physics class in 1972. It was stipulated paper soda straws and you had to have an accompanying paper detailing stresses and approximate max loads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pretty good public high school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. It's still an elective at our HS and more and more guys are filling up the classroom these days. We also have a relationship with the local culinary school were students by Junior year can go for instruction (also as an elective) if they intend to pursue culinary training after HS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But even the local community college has opened doors to young children (adult supervised) in food arts and basic kitchen skill classes. Min fee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Senior centers have Grandparent programs were kids can come and spend time with an elderly person and enjoy all sorts of skills and hobbies together, cooking included.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Y which is funded by grants, offers free classes to lower income families who wish to learn basic skills. Independent chefs have space where kids can look recipes and get exposure to diff ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Clueless doesn't have to be forever....at any income level.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Clueless doesn't have to be forever....at any income level."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So true. I volunteer with a program called Cooking Matters and many of their classes are geared towards kids learning to cook. One was at a jr high where it was the kids w/ their parents in the evening and they do them at all age levels. Most of the families are lower income.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My toddler and I go to a "cooking class" once a week. Very creative projects/recipes and there's always a background story

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My friend was spending the night and we were watching a movie where the family was having breakfast and she pointed to the T.V. and said " Look, there, you cook could make that? Those white things yellow in the middle? Those?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I said slowly. "annn egg?" thinking surly I was mistaking what she was talking about. It turned out, she really did want a sunnyside up egg. I took one of my free range farm fresh eggs out of the fridge and made her two perfect eggs with toast and real butter. She said it was the best food she had ever had.She wanted to know what the white stuff was on the toast. It turned out she had never had any eggs that were not those eggbeaters or anything but margerine.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Must have been raised by extremely health conscious parents. Her childhood must have sucked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JenniferLopez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          you should have seen her face when I fed her tenderloin with compound butter for the first time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your story made me cringe. Your actions made me cheer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. This reminds me of when my nephew’s preschool class project was to make a cookbook for their parents by each writing down their favorite recipe they like to make. My sister didn’t know about this project until he proudly brought home the finished work. There were things like PB&Js, etc., but my nephew’s entry was waffles. The instructions went something like this: Take box out of freezer. Open box. Put waffle in toaster…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That was nearly 25 years ago, and that nephew can cook most of us under the table now, and his mother has been cooking from scratch for quite a few years, as well. So, there is hope!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hell, Terrie, I like to think that there is always hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For what it's worth, I did get quite a smile from your anecdote . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reminds me, in kindergarten, the teacher had us all give her our recipes for cookies, and made it into a "cookie cookbook" with copies for us all. There was some really out there stuff, some were close. In my case, all the ingredients for my Cowboy Chocolate Chip Cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip) were right, quantities were a bit off. The recipe card we always used named them the Cowboy name and I guess I remembered. My mom still has the book... I'm 31 :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pretty darned good for a kindergartener!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Folks, let's try to keep the conversation focused on Chow. We've removed some posts that were pretty far off-topic. Thanks!