Remember home ec? Long afternoons spent hanging around a junior high classroom with the other girls (no boys allowed) learning to “cook.” Did anyone take home culinary knowledge more substantive than the advice to never put fresh pineapple in Jell-O?

Now England, as part of its antiobesity programs, is making cookery classes mandatory for children aged 11 to 14. The BBC reports that, although about 85 percent of schools already have classes, food education has been rather scattershot, with kids learning skills that aren’t that helpful for actual cooking, like “using complex engineering computer-aided design software to produce simple drawings of icing on cakes.”

According to a video that accompanies the story, the goal of the program is now to teach kids to cook a few basic dishes: tomato sauce, a roast dinner, a curry. But implementing the lessons may be easier said than done. Some schools don’t have kitchens, and there is a shortage of cooking teachers as well. Hey, now that Emeril’s been kicked off the Food Network, maybe he can find meaningful work in a British secondary school.

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