Educating kids on cooking

01:16, Jan 29 2014
Sarah Bowman
FUSSY EATERS: " prefer to be creative rather than virtuous when it comes to school lunches," says Sarah Bowman.

Sarah Bowman has more than enough reasons to subtitle her recipe book Cook Simple with "fresh meal ideas for busy lives". Bowman's days are so busy she doesn't so much move through a day, as rush-rush from one task to the next.

Sarah is a graduate of Otago University and worked as a clinical dietitian at North Shore hospital. The family moved to Christchurch in 2000.

"We love living here" she says, momentarily ignoring the task of packing and moving out of family home for five months while earthquake damage is repaired.

Added to the domestic tasks is her work for food magazine Taste, dealing with sales promotions for Cook Simple, planning her next recipe book and running the family's business Every Educaid which recently moved to the Papanui Rd shops near Animates.

A year or two after arriving in Christchurch, Sarah set up Soul Food Camp, a cooking school for children.

The classes ended in 2009 - "but I still meet young adults who remember learning to cook at the schools", she says.


"The children at the classes were aged up to 15 and we cooked dinner, then all sat down to eat. It's interesting how often those who 'don't like this or that and won't eat it, change their minds when they learn how to cook it."

Stylish food for family meals was her brief from Penguin the publishers of Cook Simple but this is no stick-to- the rules home cook.

"I don't plan. I buy vegetables first then think about the meat. To me, good food should be always about the flavours.

"Children can be fickle eaters and I prefer to be creative rather than virtuous when it comes to school lunches but it is important that the lunch box includes protein, salad, some home baking and fruit. Protein especially is important.

"Ideally breakfast will have included protein - an eggy breakfast is great - but even just a little yoghurt is better than all carbohydrates.

"Same for the midmorning snack. That, too, should include protein, ideally a sandwich with a filling of fish, egg, cheese, or meat, or maybe a snack of nuts". Bowman's preference for lunches is equally straight forward. Sandwiches/wraps filled with salads, plain home baking , fruit, water ("never juice").

All this begs the question. Will that second recipe book be Good Simple Lunches for School?

A definite no. She is thinking first-time cooks. A how-to-cook-book. Basic stuff about ingredients and equipment. And recipes for good easy dishes." As with Cook Simple the first-time cook can expect to learn how to produce dishes light on fuss, but big on impact. And, in all probability, reminders about what makes a good school lunch.

The Press