Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Snapshot: Time to Revive Home Ec

A year later, my father’s job took our family to Wales, where I attended, for a few months, a large school in a mid-size industrial city. There, students brought ingredients from home and learned to follow recipes, some simple and some not-so-simple, eventually making vegetable soups and meat and potato pies from scratch. It was the first time I had ever really cooked anything. I remember that it was fun, and with an instructor standing by, it wasn’t hard. Those were deeply empowering lessons, ones that stuck with me when I first started cooking for myself in earnest after college.
I knew a lot about cooking when I took Home Ec back in the 9th grade. But I didn't know anything about sewing, budgeting, planning a project, or the many other things that I learned in that class. I look at my children's friends and almost all of them don't know a thing about cooking. Or a lot of those other things.

This New York Times article focuses more than I'd like on obesity as a reason to revive Home Ec, although it is not without reason. I'm just sayin' there are a lot of other reasons to bring it back.


  1. Yes!

    Alas that "home economics" is almost a forbidden term; some fussy has ruled that the class is a lengthy acronym.

    The class and its attendant club is still offered in my local school, and the one remaining teacher is awfully good, but homemaking, as a concept and a class, is a neglected stepchild.

    If I were Tyrant of the World (call me Ozymandias) I'd require all students to take at least one semester of good ol' cookery and sewing and budgeting, another semester of basic auto maintenance, and yet another semester of rudimentary house maintenance.

    But then, I'm not Tyrant of the World. However, I do vote in my local school board elections, and that makes me an eccentric. Too much complaining, not enough voting.

  2. I'd take you for Tyrant with those kinds of standards! I could use a house maintenance course myself ... or perhaps just less laziness. :-D

  3. little john9/7/11, 3:51 PM

    Budgeting? That's something many American adults cannot understand!
    Mack, your school board comment reminds me that Mark Twain once said, "When God was making a Fool he began by practicing with a school board."

  4. Wow. She just had to get in a jab at Republicans there. Is there nothing that isn't political?

    PS Not everyone hates Home Ec.

  5. My kids had "Life Skills", which was just Home Ec. with another name. The teacher was impressed that mine knew how to properly set the table. Even in the 90's, apparently most families never bothered.