I was recently sent a copy of Mission:Explore Food to review and it could not have come at a more apt time because Cameron was just entering his first term of food technology lessons at school.
The term of lessons were rather disappointing - Cameron made focaccia, risotto, amaretti, thumbprint cookies, fruit buns (where the fruit was optional) and a chocolate log. I say "made" in the loosest term because the focaccia dough was pre-made, meaning that he only shaped and baked it, the chocolate log was a ready made swiss roll that he iced, there was someone putting things in the oven... etc.
Cameron did extremely well with what he was given but there was no real discussion about the science behind the processes - why dough rises, or how rice swells and absorbs or really anything I would deem valuable for a 12/13 year old learning about food and cooking independently.
The entire thinking behind (and funding for) food education in schools is about reducing obesity but I really do think they're barking up the wrong tree. Don't even get me started on the Ed Balls recipe book!
Cameron was surprised to learn that many of his peers didn't know how to rub butter into flour or even how to crack an egg which led me to want to sing from the rooftops that it's so important that we don't leave food education entirely to the food tech teacher if we want our children to eat well and make good choices. This is something that needs to be modelled and practised in the kitchen at home.
In my opinion, Mission:Explore Food is the answer to just about everything that is wrong with state school food education and I recommend it wholeheartedly. For starters, it begins where all food education should - the first two chapters are Grow and Harvest followed by Cook, Eat, Waste, Soil and Everything else.
The book challenges you to go on a series of missions learning about where your food comes from, growing your own food, meeting your meat and what I really love about the book is that it doesn't say "this is the right choice" or "this is what you should eat" it simply encourages you to think, ask questions and come to your own conclusions but all in a very fun and silly way (our favourite from the Waste section: Make a chocolate poo, eat it in public).
There are enough activities in the book to keep you going for years, it would be a wonderful addition to your home education resources and it would also make a great gift.
Mission:Explore Food is currently FREE to download until January 21st!
All 6 chapters and 159 illustrated mission activities are included for free and help children to learn about and rethink their relationships with food.
Or if you'd prefer, a paper copy (not the cheapest book but I believe it's worth the cash).
More information about The Geography Collective and some sneak peek pages here.