No cookery lessons for the gluten free?

I was shocked to read about a small boy with multiple allergies and his coeliac friend who were not able to join in cookery lessons at school, but instead had to sit in a corner and read a book (read more on this in the Daily Mail). This shouldn’t be happening …

allergyfreecookbook.jpgMy daughter has been able to join in cookery in her primary school (though she couldn’t taste all the sandwiches her classmates made in the ‘design a sandwich’ lesson) because they’ve used gluten free flour and baking powder – and her secondary school, where she will go in September, has assured us that there won’t be a problem there either.

Now, this small boy’s allergies include eggs and peanuts, which are dangerous allergies, so I can understand the school being reluctant, but there are ways around the problems other than simply excluding the children from lessons.

The point of the article was that his mother, Alice Sherwood, has written a book: the Allergy Free Cookbook (aff), with variants for each recipe including dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free and egg-free.

We can do gluten free easily enough by now, but the thought of needing to create interesting meals that are also dairy-free and nut-free is a real challenge. I’ll be looking out for this book, perhaps in our local library … in the meantime, I think Alice should talk to the governors of her son’s school, and see if between them they can arrange a better solution to cookery lessons.

I’d love to know what you think! (Alice, are you out there?)

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Lucy is the mother of a coeliac, and has been managing a gluten free diet for her daughter for 20 years - though, to be fair, she does do most of it herself now...

9 thoughts on “No cookery lessons for the gluten free?”

  1. Thank you for bringing up this issue…with some thought and planning there isn’t any reason people with different food requirements can’t participate in these types of lessons.

    Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

  2. Hi Lucy

    I am out here and think your site is great..
    I wanted to call my book ‘The Allergy-free and Coeliac Cookbook’because every recipe has a gluten-free version but the jacket design is the publisher’s rather than the author’s call, and they’re right, it would have been a rather unwieldy title!

    Did you catch the news last week? They’re revamping the school curtriculum and considering adding cookery lessons. I think that would be a great place to explain to children about different dietary needs, coeliac disease, allergies and so on. What do other people think?

    I’ve been doing recipe cards for schools for years, so that everyone can join in cookery lessons and I know the schools would be in favour if they could get their hands on the right materials.

    All the best


  3. Hi Alice – thanks for dropping by! And yes, I think cookery lessons should be mandatory in school. I seem to remember learning how to make rough puff pastry at school!

    I think these lessons would be a good place to explain about different dietary problems – I’m wondering whether they should also cover health aspects of diet as well. Not just the various things people sometimes need to avoid, but also perhaps bulimia/anorexia type issues as well. Though perhaps this would need to be covered by a joint health/cookery class?

    I’m interested in these recipe cards you do. Are these issued to all schools, or are they available to schools via DK?

  4. Come to think of it, I had to sit out on the cooking section of home section too, because they only used gluten flour for tons of baking projects. I was able to join when they switched to the sewing section of the class, and really enjoyed it. I would have liked to join in on the baking, though…


  5. Hi Sea.

    It’s getting easier to find gluten free food these days and I hope things are changing in schools too. It’s a shame that you missed out on baking – there was something special about taking food home to share with the family.

  6. I think what we really need is a combination of education – about coeliac disease, allergies etc to help school staff and pupils understand what it’s like living with the risks and difficulties…
    that knowledge could then help to pave the way for more inclusive* cookery lessons.xx Alice
    * sorry about use of jargon-like ‘inclusive’ but it really does seem like the best word in this situation

  7. Perhaps the new topic-based education strategy here in the UK will be like this?

    No, of course it won’t. Does anyone know who to approach on this topic? Jamie Oliver comes to mind on the cookery lessons side – how about Gordon Banks MP, who might know which civil servant would be the best to approach on the education side?

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