If we all love Jamie and Nigella, why can't most of us even boil an egg?

Tom Parker Bowles tells literary festival that Britain is nation of 'food voyeurs'

Britain is a nation of food voyeurs who love books and programmes about eating, but still don't bother cooking for themselves, the food critic and author, Tom Parker Bowles said yesterday.

In an interview ahead of his appearence at The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival tonight Parker Bowles said that while he welcomed the nation's healthy appetite for television programmes on cooking and books in which "celebrity chefs" divulge their best recipes, he bemoaned the nation's reluctance to get in the kitchen and cook for themselves.

"We are a nation of voyeurs. We love Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson in our millions, but we leave them on our coffee tables. We watch them but we don't always learn from them," he said.

Parker Bowles, who is set to speak about his latest book, Full English, said the best way to ward off a generation of armchair foodies, as well as an obesity epidemic, was to bring back cooking lessons at school. He said we had "forgotten" to cook as a nation and that it was vital to learn the basics.

"The only way we will make Britain a food nation again is by teaching children how to cook. We just need them to know how to boil an egg, make a salad and a salad dressing. I'd like them to bring back those skills at school. I was privileged enough to go to a public school where we had cooking lessons which were really good fun. We were given the basic knowledge of how to stew and roast. Many of us have forgotten how to cook," he said.

He said our eating habits had declined since the war when we ate healthy portions and that he was worried over childhood obesity which would have "long-term costs with their obsession with cheap food."

But Parker Bowles, the son of the Duchess of Cornwall, said while he was committed to eating seasonal, organic fare, he felt we should not be too disapproving about our consumption. He did, however, confess to being partial to the odd McDonalds cheeseburger.

"There is nothing wrong with the odd McDonalds. I love crappy fizzy drinks, processed cheese and cheese burgers. If I'm passing and I'm hungry, I'll go in. They do brilliant chips. I agree on the importance of eating humanely but there are too many finger-waggers," he said.

For his latest book, Parker Bowles travelled across Britain in search of regional dishes, visiting West Country cider brewers to Yorkshire tripe dressers. He is set to be in conversation with The Independent's restaurant critic, Tracey MacLeod, at Woodstock.

For full details and to download a festival brochure go to independent.co.uk/woodstock

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before