Food Revolution Day 2014 – Join In With Your Kids!

Cooking with Kids

Cooking with kids is something I feel really passionately about and raising awareness of good food is something I’m always happy to do and get behind. This year, Food Revolution Day  – a global day of action – falls on Friday 16th May 2014. It’s a day entirely dedicated to raising food awareness and education on cooking supported by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. Beyond the day itself, the charity aims to deliver food education programmes though teaching kitchen skills, as well as educating kids on where their food comes from and inspiring kids and adults alike to enjoy cooking from scratch. It’s the ethos that pretty much fuels Jamie Oliver in most of what he does. The money raised by the foundation (and on Food Revolution Day itself) is also used toward helping disengaged teenagers to train to work in the food industry through the Fifteen Apprentice Programme, which I mentioned last week after a charity supper at Fifteen. You can support the cause here, whilst entering to win a cooking lesson with Jamie Oliver and a stay in London with dinner and spending money thrown in, too. Or, you can visit the official Food Revolution Day website for lots more ideas on how to join in and get involved on the day and beyond.

Food Revolution Day 2014
Food Revolution Day official web resource

There’s generally a theme to Food Revolution Day and this year, the big emphasis is on getting kids excited about food by encouraging them to help out with food preparation and by helping them to learn how to make good food choices as early on as possible. We’re all very quick to blame the food industry and schools (although our school meals are amazing and are cooked from scratch every day even at state level) but we also have to acknowledge that teaching kids the very basics can begin at home. We live in a world now where even a baby’s first spoonful of food may come from a jar or a packet. There are so many food choices to navigate and so much of our food is now processed and stripped of it’s true nutritional value. Some of our food is so far removed from it’s natural state that at times, we can barely even recognise the basic ingredients. This makes me sad and it’s something I’d love to see changed and improved upon. I’m excited to see that food is coming back to the revised National Curriculum in 2014 at primary level and secondary level and I really hope it stays there and makes a big come back throughout school life through Home Economics/Design & Technology lessons. But I also really believe that despite the fact that our lives are so incredibly busy, there are lots of things that we can do ourselves and at home to help us all become more aware of cooking with real ingredients and making sensible choices.

Baking Ingredients

To mark Food Revolution Day this year, I was asked to share some of my childhood cooking memories over on the JamieOliver.com site, which I did, along with an exclusive recipe for a tasty fresh plum cake, served with plenty of yogurt and fruit. A plum cake was the first recipe that I learned how to bake with my mum and it’s a recipe that my kids love to help me with in the kitchen now, too. There are plenty of ways for little hands to help and get involved along the way. My seven and four year old children were practically able to do much of the preparation for this cake between them, needing my help only with the electric whisk and with putting the cake into the oven and with taking it out once cooked.

Food Revolution Day Collage

There are some more child-friendly recipes and activity sheets to explore over on the Food Revolution Day website and it’s not too late to sign up and get involved. Simply fill in the form to say how many of you are going to be marking Food Revolution Day – whether by joining in with a live cooking lesson with Jamie, trying a new recipe or ingredient out for yourselves or perhaps even planting some potatoes or other vegetables in the garden with the kids. You can also share your ideas, activities or results via social media using the hashtag #FRD2014.

Polish Plum Cake

{Find my recipe for the plum cake here!}

Every year, awareness of how making better food choices and of cooking real food from scratch grows and grows with the help of Jamie’s Food Revolution Day campaign with over 74 countries taking part globally. I hope you can set aside a little time to join in this year in creating some little waves which may spark more action in the months and years to come.

Polish Plum Cake

Keep an eye out for my tweets @RenBehan to see what we’re getting up to on Food Revolution Day – we’ll be taking part in the live cookery lesson at 2pm at home (making a nutritious rainbow salad wrap) and planting some veggies shortly after that, too. I’m looking forward to sharing our mini kitchen garden progress with you as things start to grow over the summer. There are also many other food bloggers helping to spread the work about the day and campaign itself – take a look at some more posts here –

Mabintu at Recipes from a Pantry on Yogurt Dip

Louisa’s post over on Eat Your Veg, including a recipe for Easy Cheesy Muffins

Polish Plum Cake

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales, no. 1094536. All links editorially given and I have chosen to make a donation to the campaign as well as to raise awareness of Food Revolution Day through this post.  

Other recipes to try with kids –

Pear and Plum Banana Bread

Turkey and Leek Meatballs with Tomato Tagliatelle

Swiss Scrambled Eggs with Croissants and Shakes

Are you joining in with Food Revolution Day this year? If so, let me know what you are doing and have fun!

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  2. A post that resonates well with me; my two year old has been obscenely challenging to feed from the start. He’s ok with vegetables when coupled with distraction but has done sort of avoidance for fruit. I’m encouraging him to join in the cooking bit in hope that it’ll entice him to taste what we are making so your recipe will provide yet more encouragement and inspiration x

  3. Such a great thing Jamie does and a brilliant post you’ve done here Ren. I love the look of that cake too!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thanks Jan – and for stopping by!

  4. Such an important concept. I love cooking with my kids and whilst it takes time, patience and half an eye closed to the mess, it is lovely to see them enjoy the creativity and taste of real food

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Closed eyes – yes! But all children seem to so love getting involved with real food. I’m glad yours do too x

  5. Such a great idea Ren, I feel like I am always on the case to get children eating well and learning to cook. Not keen on all that “kid’s” food or “kid’s” menus – my children eat the same as us which is as I think it should be, no dinosaur shape chicken nuggets here – gosh does that sound awful and preachy?!! I’m convinced one of the best things I can do for my children is to teach them how to cook well and adventurously so that when that terrible day comes and they leave home, they can fend for themselves and not rely on ready meals!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Exactly, it’s all about enabling kids and empowering them. Mine can make their own breakfast now, but they also love to help and get involved and they enjoy experiments in the kitchen. I agree, kids food/menus aren’t always the best – and they also reinforce that kids should somehow eat different food. I like the Italian approach, one big bowl of pasta on the table and a salad for everyone to tuck into!

  6. Beautifully written Ren, it also makes me incredibly sad that so many babies start their foray into food with a jar or packet and can easily start their lives clueless as to what real food looks or tastes like. My children are probably very privileged to have always eaten only real food and taken an active role in the kitchen since they were mere toddlers. As proven from my work at the local school kids LOVE anything cooking and food related and I’m staggered it’s been off the curriculum for so long, but at least it’s back again now. Thanks also for my Cheesy Muffin mention! Lou

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thanks Louisa, your children are very lucky to have such a hands on mummy so passionate about food! Looking forward to trying your Cheesy Muffins, too.

  7. Heidi Roberts says:

    I always try to cook with my grandchildren whenever I get a chance, even now getting the 20 month in on the action! The 4 year old who doesn’t like vegetables loves the vegetable soup he makes with Nanny!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      You do a great job inspiring your kids to cook and helping down at the allotment too – Super Nanny!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thank you Nayna, hope you get to try the cake one day x

  8. Sounds like a brilliant idea, and the plum cake looks like a great recipe for kids to make.
    My first memory of baking wasn’t quite as healthy as yours, it was chocolate cornflake cakes 😉
    Janie x

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Aaah that’s still a lovely memory, I also remember making Krispie cakes and Cornflake cakes and at school, lots of quiche and scones!

  9. Hey Ren,
    What a beautifully written post and I love the pics of your little ones helping you make such a gorgeous plum cake. We are also going to be doing some planting with the kids at our end. They are so excited and are coutng down the sleeps to FRD2014. Will be keeping an eye on for your tweets on the day. Happy cooking and planting. And thanks for the mention. Will add this link to my next FRD post tomorrow.

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thanks Bintu, so pleased you are looking forward to FRD, too. Will also look out for your tweets and very much enjoyed your yogurt post, too.

  10. I love the look of your plum cake Ren… such pretty colours. It’s so important that we teach our children how to cook, both at home and at school! Convenience food is all very well but it’s so much healthier to learn about food in its raw form and the myriad of exciting and tasty things we can do with it. I’m delighted to hear that cooking is going back on the curriculum – long may it last!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thank Katie, yes I usually use Victoria plums in season but these bright purple plums ended up being a beautiful colour. I’m excited too that food is back on the curriculum. I’m sure both of mine will most look forward to their cooking days!

  11. Ren, I love this post, especially this line: “creating some little waves which may spark more action in the months and years to come.”

    Every year I feel that what I do for FRD is not enough. This year I am hosting 2 in-school classes featuring Jamie recipes, taking part in the live cooking lesson albeit a little later due to scheduling issues, with 2 classes and teaching a 30 person parent-child class as well. But feels like a drop in the ocean compared to what many are doing…

    Our goal in Toronto moving forward is to host monthly events on a small scale to help get those sparks lit, those waves moving EVERY day, not just on May 16th!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Aah thanks Mardi. You know it’s really hard to write a post like with without sounding too preachy…yes, it’s an ideal that we should all cook food from scratch and that every child should have access to real food, education and even cooking lesson but I really feel (particularly in the UK) as though things are slowly changing and I do think that Jamie Oliver had a lot to do with that – despite his frustration at our government and the criticism he received almost daily for it. If we all join in with creating little waves, I think bigger things will continue to happen and that has to be a positive thing no matter which way you look at it. You do an amazing amount of good stuff already around this topic – you’re an inspiration to me and many others with your blog and Les Petits Chefs cooking classes. Here’s to much more campaigning and cooking with real food! And thank you, as always, for your lovely comment. I feel much better about hitting “publish!”

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