Sir: Christine Smith is right to point out the virtues of broth to people on benefit (letter, 16 November). However, as well as basic ingredients, there are other requirements: for instance, the know-how to make it, now that cookery is not taught in schools; access to a safe means of prolonged cooking, which is not available in bed and breakfast hostels; and the ability to discriminate between seductive food advertising and dietary advice.
A huge change in dietary knowledge and habits has occurred, both in and out of the kitchen. The rise of pre-packed and prepared foods, emphasis on ease of preparation, and the death of small shops such as butchers have all contributed.
Perhaps a coherent food strategy, taking all these influences into account and sympathetic to the practical needs and culture of young mothers, would be of benefit to them and their children. Despite my efforts, my own small children have very definite food preferences that do not include broth!