View from here - Greasy spoons stir young souls

30th April 2010 at 01:00
A cookbook circulating schools in Sweden boasts British dishes that would give Jamie Oliver a heart attack. Ben Kersley reports

When it comes to international culinary delights, British food probably doesn't make the top ten.

However, at a school in Ljung in southern Sweden, pupils aged ten to 13 have started learning about the intricacies of exotic dishes such as roast beef and Yorkshire pud, fish 'n' chips and the all-day breakfast.

The cookery course getting the young taste buds going is based on a book, The British Cookbook for Young Swedes, which was the brainchild of two local high school students, Lamija Dzuho and Lisa Kindeland.

The cookbook, inspired by an exchange visit between Linkoping, in southern Sweden, and Chester, was part of an English-language school project to find a bridge between British and Swedish culture.

Much to the girls' bemusement, the book has made an impact on the curriculum of other local schools.

Teachers have leapt at the chance to give their students something written by teenagers that can be used to cover so many subjects. The book is being used to teach home economics, maths, geography and science as well as English language.

It is popular with the kids too, if only because it's the only time they get to eat their homework.

The slap-up meals are seen as edifying for both mind and body, without a moralising Jamie Oliver splish splosh of olive oil in sight.

While every effort is being made to ween British school pupils off a greasy, artery-clogging diet, Swedish kids have started gorging themselves on the delights of the Corner Caff.

Lamija and Lisa genuinely seem to have a passion for British food. Lamija goes glassy eyed thinking about fish 'n' chips and Lisa is a big fan of the English breakfast, although she admits that she has never managed a "full English" in one sitting (beaten by the fried bread and black pudding, no doubt).

The one dish that doesn't do it for the girls is steak and kidney pie and, despite being fans of our grub, they wouldn't like to see English school dinners replace their Swedish school meals.

This is partly because school meals are free in the Scandinavia country, but also because students are given a good variety of food. Even though chips never feature on the menu, they don't miss them.

So will The British Cookbook For Young Swedes cause a culinary revolution in Sweden? Unlikely, but the fact that there are schoolchildren in Sweden sitting down for a genuine fry-up is worth raising a glass for ... or as Lamija and Lisa would have it, raising a good British "cuppa".

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