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