"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
College is supposed to be a place of higher learning that prepares young people for the challenges of taking on a greater role as an adult in a civilized society. While there is no doubt the value of the degrees earned in those hallowed halls, one mom has a striking complaint about it all.
"How can you consider yourself educated and sophisticated if you don't know how to cook a decent meal?" asked Hollis Ledbetter, author of OMG! I'm In College and I Never Learned to Cook (www.omgcookbooks.com). "Don't get me wrong, I'm all for higher education for the purposes of being able to earn a living and contribute to the world around them, but I've never seen a college course titled 'How to buy groceries, cook dinner and do your own laundry!'"
Ledbetter, a mother of four children (one still in college, the others all have families of their own), sensed the irony of colleges teaching students to become engineers, lawyers and doctors who - without mom's help - are still likely to burn down the kitchen while trying to boil water.
"Parents and kids need to know a few key things before the adventure of higher education begins," she added. "Kids need to learn how to cook and parents need to know how to teach them. Taking a semester of home economics in high school does not equate to knowing how to safely defrost a chicken, carve it, prepare it and cook it so that it actually tastes like something other than shoe leather. It's one part art and one part science, and they aren't going to learn either from any class at school."
Her tips for parents include:
Her tips for kids include:
"There is an old proverb that says, 'If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime," Ledbetter said. "Of course, it stops before they mention if he knows how to cook the darn thing. If you can help encourage your kids to prepare their own meals, they'll eat healthier and be happy in the kitchen for the rest of their lives. And, I think that's a more valuable lesson than they'll ever learn in school."