“Ok girls, aprons on, ingredients ready, equipment ready? Today we are going to learn how to make… a white sauce!” As she explains the science behind making a roux and the correct ratio of butter to milk to flour a chorus of groans is met by the home-ec teacher’s ears.
As a teenager, whose only thought when it came to the kitchen was "can I get to the fridge without actually having to take my eyes off the TV?", it came as a surprise to me when in my first home-ec cooking prac I was learning how to make white sauce. Where was the chocolate, the pastries, the cakes, the soufflés?
Thinking back, it doesn’t matter if you know how to make all the fancy things, because if you can’t make a basic white sauce, whip egg white to the correct peaks, or make an emulsion – your pasta sauce will be lumpy and your meringues inedible.
Some people have the knack of throwing together ingredients and making a mouth-watering masterpiece.There is an expression: "cooking is an art, but baking is a science." What do you think?
Whenever I attempt to make dough or pastry there is a specific recipe and procedure that I need to follow in order for the end result to turn out perfect. I find comfort in the notion that if I follow the recipe correctly the product will be just right.
I will always remember my home-ec classes as they were where I learned how to appreciate what my parents do and the practice and patience it takes to create the perfect end product. It also taught me some simple life lessons, like don’t stick your finger into boiling fudge and then try to cool it down with your mouth. Or how friends are always there when your Swiss-roll has a crack down the middle and they sneak you their bowl of chocolate sauce in the exam.
So when you poo poo at others when they say they took home-ec or if your child wants to change their geography class to home-ec, stop and think. You always need the basics in life to complete the tough stuff... and you can always buy an atlas if you can’t remember where Norway is.
If this story has taken you back, you may want to revisit some home-ec basics with Food24. Test your skills with these step-by-step
profiterole and soufflé recipes.