Cooking teaching Barbara Monks publishes four booklets to answer simple questions, such as ‘What makes a roast potato golden?’ ‘How does custard thicken?’ and ‘Is too much sugar bad for cake?’

There are so many of us out there who love cooking, love experimenting with ingredients, love seeing a dish come together, and, most of all, love enjoying the taste and watching our loved ones feast on the fruits of our labour.

But how often do we stop to think about what’s happening when we cook? The art of cooking really isn’t just about art. It’s about science first and foremost. And if we don’t know a little about the science behind it, we’re doomed, and if our Yorkshire Pudds aren’t perfect we’ve really got only ourselves to blame.

But one woman has made it her mission to enlighten us all, and, crucially, to enlighten pupils in schools and their teachers, so they can actually be educated in the vital components of cooking. You know, the kind of thing our grandmothers just knew because they had spent their lives in the kitchen with their own mothers and grandmothers?

It doesn’t happen that way anymore, so cookery teacher Barbara Monks has stepped up to the mark by publishing four booklets, entitled: 1) Is it done? 2) Is it thick? 3) Will it work? 4) Is it safe?

By telling us the basics behind food and cooking, it means we won’t only be able to produce a good meal when we absolutely stick to a recipe, we’ll actually understand what components change a dish so we can adapt it accordingly.

So understanding the process an ingredients goes through to be cooked properly, whisked properly, handled properly etc, means we can all become master chefs yet!

Why do it?

Barbara says she came up with the idea thanks to the school system changing: “I have written these booklets because the National Curriculum is changing from September and requires more of a focus on the characteristics of food, understanding food and building a body of knowledge on food, food science and being healthy.

“Because the age range is now 8-14 years for compulsory food education from September, I felt there would be many primary teachers worrying about their own knowledge. What I want, as many others do, is for teachers and pupils to learn from cooking and not just cook for the sake of making a meal.”

Get more tips and recipes from Barbara on her website at, where you can get more information about purchasing her booklets.