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HEALING HERBS: Cooking under threat

Annette Maynard-Watson

HEALING HERBS: Cooking under threat

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The art and science of cooking constantly face assassination attempts in Barbados.
The latest failed attempt seems to have been executed by those who stigmatize the teaching of food and nutrition and have been mis-educated about the value of holistic meals to appropriate development. Moreover, the art of Bajan cooking or food preparation has gone under serious cosmetic change, which has done nothing to improve health benefits or family life. In fact, gone are the days when cooking was cherished as a way to satisfy husbands or even to get a husband. How many women, especially those under the age of 30, can proudly say that they can prepare holistic meals for their family?
These threats associated with the art and science of cooking and the proud traditions once attached to our Barbadian way of cooking must be addressed. This year, as we celebrate our Independence, let us redirect our focus to the need to treasure the ability to cook while regaining the other necessary preparation skills.
Most of the time when we lack the ability to prepare proper meals, we mostly end up purchasing junk food. Mistakenly, some people believe that a plate crammed with unhealthy food is better than a plate with the correct portions of food.
I remember when I taught food and nutrition, the emphasis was always on a healthy lifestyle and nutrition. My brain is still loaded with information about nutrient studies, diet therapy, deficiency diseases, digestion, meal planning, cooking and cake methods and other empowering health information. I love to cook and this does not make me less intelligent. Instead, it allows me to prepare nutritious meals.
Why it is no longer compulsory for students to attend food and nutrition classes? Two reasons advanced are that the subject has to compete with options that seem more fashionable, and some children may even be conditioned to believe that the subject should be avoided by the educated elite. This may make it impossible for Bajan traditional family recipes and cooking secrets to be transferred.  
Additionally, as we celebrate Independence on this 166 square mile island, why are there so many fast food and mobile food areas not catering to healthy living?
Likewise, the days of macaroni pies and their associates reaping havoc on our health must be addressed. During pre- and late post-Independence, our foods were mainly stewed, steamed or boiled. To progress we must teach the present generation about home cooking as the healthier alternative. It is also better for the environment.   
Finally, make it a priority to prepare holistic family meals to assist in saving our country from so many chronic and other diseases.
• Annette Maynard-Watson, a teacher and herbal educator, may be contacted via [email protected] or by telephone 250-6450.
 DISCLAIMER:?It is not our intention to prescribe or make specific claims for any products. Any attempts to diagnose or treat real illness should come under the direccton of your health care provider.