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September 25, 2018

If you have been in a supermarket in the last few days, you may have spotted groups of new students wandering forlornly in the aisles.

Cast adrift from their families for the first time, a fair number of them appear to have no idea of how to cook for themselves.

Their shopping baskets contain a seemingly random selection of ingredients that, when combined, will make for a truly horrible plate of food.

One imagines that three nights of pasta and baked beans will have the young scholars turning rather misty-eyed at the memory of a decent home-cooked meal.

Of course, all this could be avoided if they had learned to cook from a young age.

Easy Peasy! Cooking For Kids: a kitchen kickstart

Without wishing to lecture, learning to cook is one of the most important life skills and Easy Peasy! Cooking For Kids is designed to give children a good start in the kitchen.

It has been written by Mary Contini of Edinburgh's legendary Valvona and Crolla business along with the food writer Pru Irvine.

Aimed at 9-12 year olds, the book contains more than 60 recipes for children to make with an adult.

With a little practice, and a dollop of arms-length supervision, a lot of the recipes could be carried out solo by the more confident young cook.

Some of the recipes - eggy pots, mash, cheesy pasta - are very simple. Others, such as the chilli or chicken and sweetcorn soup are a little more complex but manageably so.

Handily, the book has a section at the back called The Knack. This covers basic cooking essentials such as the importance of using sharp knives, hygiene and food safety.

There are technique tips for peeling and slicing onions, preparing garlic and stoning fruit. Marinading, simmering and kneading are all explained.

In short, the book covers all you need to get going in the kitchen.

If they master just a quarter of the recipes then children will be able to feed themselves for a week.

Cooking: the gift that keeps giving

Learning how to cook is the gift that keeps giving and teaching kids some simple recipes and techniques will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

Easy Peasy! will enable young 'uns to fend for themselves in the kitchen.

And hopefully, in years to come it will cut down on the number of hapless young people wandering the supermarket aisles with a pack of chicken breasts in one hand and a box of meringues in the other.

Easy Peasy! Real Cooking For Kids is published by BC Books. It costs £12.99.