Word up yo!
(That’s me being down with the kids to prove that I’m not a grandparent yet.)
I’ve got a little story to tell you about chips, but first…
This Sunday is Grandparents’ Day, and environmental charity Hubbub and Unilever are seizing the opportunity to highlight the importance of cooking with grandparents as a way to spend time together, pass on valuable skills and reduce food waste. They’ve set up an online resource to help you #CookSomethingGrand, offering tips and a whole load of great recipes.
To demonstrate the issue, Hubbub and Unilever conducted a survey of 1,000 UK parents. The results showed that eight out of 10 parents wish they had more time to teach their children to cook and over half expressed a concern that their children won’t have the skills needed to cook a meal for themselves when they grow up. Cooking skills are essential if we want to use up leftovers, maximise the value from our food and tackle the 7 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year.
Just to frighten you, by the age of 11:
– 44% of children have never boiled an egg
– 28% have never peeled a potato
– 28% have never mashed potatoes
– 23% have never chopped vegetables with a knife
68% of parents also said they’d like their children to spend more time cooking with their grandparents, hence the link to Grandparents’ Day. Take a look at the video that Hubbub and Unilever have put together if you need a bit of inspiration.
My story about chips
I have very fond memories of cooking with my Gran. We didn’t make cakes though, or scones, or anything traditionally grandparenty like that. The only things I ever remember making with my Gran were crinkle cut chips.
My Gran made an awful lot of crinkle cut chips.
The process would always start with me going to the larder with a plastic washing up bowl, to get potatoes out of the cardboard box kept in the larder on the floor. The larder had a very distinctive smell. I can smell it now, although the harder I try to think of how to describe it, the harder it becomes to pin down. It was cool, and a bit potatoey, obviously, with a strong undercurrent of Tupperware beaker.
(On one of the shelves my Gran kept a couple of different sets of coloured plastic beakers, which I had my drinks in. It was always exciting choosing a colour and I can feel the slightly sharp edge of the beaker against my mouth now, and taste the plastic larder smell.)
I’d then take the washing up bowl of potatoes to the sink, where I would stand, or kneel as I got bigger, on a small kitchen stool. The stool was wooden, with a wipeable red plastic seat. My Gran would run some water into the bowl, and show me how to peel the potatoes properly. Sometimes my Gran would do the peeling and then pass them on to me for the best bit – the chipping.
My Gran had a crinkle cutter for her chips like this one, slightly thicker at one end than the other:
I’d chop the potatoes first into slices, and then into individual chips. As my Gran watched, I’d do my very best to make my chips consistent and evenly shaped, like my Gran’s. After chopping, they’d go into the chip basket – a proper metal basket in a big pan of Crisp ‘n Dry.
When the chips were nearly ready, I’d set the table with the vintage car place mats and cutlery from the green baize lined drawers in the sideboard. Salt and pepper in the middle for my Grandad. Plastic coloured beaker of squash for me.
I’d sit opposite my Grandad and we’d eat our crinkle cut chips and tinned baked beans and sausages – four sausages each – and they’d taste amazing because I knew I had chopped them.
The point I’m trying to make with my very long story about chips, is that cooking with your family is important. Yes, grandparents have lots of cool skills to pass on, but as well as creating pies and muffins, you can create memories. The smell of that larder, the taste of my Gran’s chips and the sense of pride I got from helping to make them are all still with me, even though my Gran died over ten years ago.
Cooking and eating food are sociable activities that help to connect us – they nourish our souls as well as our bodies.
This Grandparents’ Day – Sunday 2nd October – take the chance to get together with your family and #CookSomethingGrand.
Sponsored post. Image – Duplass/shutterstock