This is how the cooking classes work at the IGS Linden in Hannover

Hanover.There is nothing left of the homemade pasta with arugula pesto and braised tomatoes from this afternoon. The bowls have been emptied as the nine students at IGS Linden get up and wash the dishes. This concludes the fourth block of practical training of the Professional School 2 (BBS 2) of gastronomy and food trade, a compulsory module in ninth grade.

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The subject area can be freely chosen. Some are led to the workbench, others to the stove block. It starts on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., around 3:00 p.m. we eat together. An hour and a half separates work from pleasure, empty stomach from full stomach, but are young chefs just hungry for pasta or thirsty for knowledge too?

IGS Linden: No cooking classes, but a school of taste

In any case, vocational school teacher Marcus Heering launches into the lesson with as much energy as if the juries of all the TV cooking shows were expected to have lunch in a few minutes. “You have to do a 90-minute program here, otherwise the students tune out,” says the 60-year-old master chef and pastry chef.

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However, his teaching is far from boring entertainment. The kneading of the pasta dough is seasoned with three explanatory sentences about gluten (also known as gluten). While the smell of olive oil, garlic and rosemary rises from a frying pan, there is an excursion of knowledge about essential oils. With brief theoretical appetizers, Heering opens the doors of his specialty. What’s going on here isn’t a cooking class: it’s a school of taste.

Blind tasting with pickles and Parmesan

This is how arugula smells: Tijan (14) is learning a lot about a delicious pesto on the stove.

This is how arugula smells: Tijan (14) is learning a lot about a delicious pesto on the stove.

The launch event a few weeks earlier showed how necessary this point is for a basic understanding of the topic. For example, Heering began with a blind tasting of pickled cucumbers, apples, limes, radicchio, and Parmesan to introduce students to the basic flavors of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (meaning hearty, spicy).

Foods were rarely recognized in the taste test. Why? Heering diplomatically says that if you only eat apples as juice, you may not know what an apple feels like in your mouth. To put it less diplomatically, our children are expected to put two and one together, but if they can’t tell the difference between zucchini and cucumber, woeful smiles and amused nods are the highest emotions.

It has long been clear that the eating habits of each individual carry a sociopolitical responsibility, whether in terms of environmental protection, animal welfare or health. Topics that cannot be ideally collected and consolidated in home economics or biology lessons. Example: In a course at the vocational high school, Heering prepares a Kaiserschmarrn for breakfast, with a lot of butter and a lot of sugar. He says the students gobbled up the sumptuous morning meal with relish. He digs deeper the following week. Many of the test eaters found that they got hungry again surprisingly quickly. This is the ideal starting point for Heering to tackle muesli and the longer saturation caused by fiber. This is how food education works.

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Read more after the announcement

also read

Many families do not have time to cook

Everything is homemade: in the BBS kitchen, young people learn how fresh pasta is made.

Everything is homemade: in the BBS kitchen, young people learn how fresh pasta is made.

However, what happens here on Wednesday afternoons is a voluntary cooperation between BBS 2 and IGS Linden. Should the teaching of basic practical knowledge on such a vitally important subject be left entirely to the responsibility of the family and the commitment of the schools? Or completely away from pompous taste buds: If you believe the teachers of the two schools, there is no time to cook in many families, sometimes money is lacking, but also simply the desire and motivation. School lunch is therefore sometimes the only thing children eat during the day.

What are politicians doing to promote healthy eating?

Done: IGS Linden students serve up a visually appealing pasta dish.

Done: IGS Linden students serve up a visually appealing pasta dish.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

In this context, the low importance of nutritional education in state policy is striking. After all, the Greens have included nutrition and nutrition education for children and young people in their preliminary party program for the 2022 state elections. From the SPD, FDP or the CDU, who are even striving to found a children’s ministry, there is still little concrete information.

Because it is? Heering believes it’s also due to cost, lack of teachers, and ultimately the will. But aren’t you betting on the wrong horse here? Complex nutritional traffic lights are being developed at the federal level, soda taxes and junk food advertising bans are being discussed, but it takes a BBS 2 and a Marcus Heering to teach a group of kids how to make a fresh pizza with grilled vegetables and mozzarella. the dish is under other things in the next few weeks on the menu, sorry schedule.

By Hannes Finkbeiner

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