I am, as regular readers of this blog know, an engineer, and a male so I naturally know "boy-things." At the high school I attended they didn't have "home economics," but the local public school did.
Yesterday I had to take my son to his Chinese class, held at a local middle school's home economics class and boy oh boy oh boy was I astounded at the "texts" they use for "home economics."
First of all they use (not the latest) edition of the "Betty Crocker Cookbook;" they actually I think use the edition that's two editions before the current one ("the cookbook with a difference- it comes from a fictional character designed to sell not very good tasting instant cake mixes"). (My snark, lest the Crocker lawyers read this diary.)
I never thought a cookbook could be racist and uninformative, but Betty Crocker takes the cake, so to speak. Let's take the latter point first. First of all, there is not a single smidgen of anything on technique. Nothing on how to hold a knife, how to sharpen it, what kind of knives there are, the properties of various pots and pans; there's not even a comprehensive list on kitchen tools. And the tools that are listed are bizzare! For example according to that cook book, you should have an egg separator because the porous shells may contain harmful bacteria and you should never separate eggs using the shells! This idiotic advice of course could be countered with the simple admonition to "wash your hands, stupid," and I shudder to wonder how many legions of young Americans were misinformed in this manner.
If you want to know how to stir-fry you're totally out of luck here.
Furthermore, cuts of meats that are cheaper and easier to prepare- such as skirt steak- are missing.
Marinades and their properties are missing.
All the stuff you seen on Alton Brown is missing.
This is why Americans "can't cook."
Then - you remember I said, "racist" didn't you? There's the recipies. There's "Italian" spaghetti. "Hungarian" Goulash (which is not spelled "ghoulash," thankfully- not that they do; it was a typo I almost made). There's "oriental" noodles (which isn't so much "oriental" as "made up like what we imagine those yellow people would eat- it's got soy sauce and sesame oil in it and rice noodles so what else would you want?") There's even French omlettes.
Nothing, nada, zilch, zippo on African-American, Chinese, Indian, or Latino cuisines beyond simple Mexican food. No good inexpensive Italian dishes like Osso Bucco.
Aw, hell, it's unfair in a way for me to complain- the damned cookbook exists as a vehicle to sell Betty Crocker baking products (no wonder there's so many fat Americans.)
To which I say, what the f*ck were the students - or the teachers for that matter eating before they bought this atrocity? What kind of ignorant board members brought this atrocity into our schools- into my community's school?
They also had this horseshit "guide to living" book that the students knew was totally lame and in which the students had written snarky comments. The book dated from the mid-70s, and needless to say was pretty outdated - prices listed dated from exactly 1970. I won't mention what wasn't listed, but if you can think of a major problem that a young adult starting out on his own might have, from drugs to abortion to living with a spouse in military service to insurance to health care to saving for retirmeent to anything really associated with living on your own, this book doesn't have it. But it does tell you you can wear pink, and how to coordinate colors in your living room. And that families of different ethnic groups eat different foods.
And I live in an above average income neighborhood!
I thought as I read these books that, shit, somebody must of done to "home economics" what Foucault did to the prison system. Well, Cornell is obviously doing something. Check out this snarky site, too.
I don't know if there's a "war on home economics" yet, but there ought to be.
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