Marguerite Patten Goes to School on an Egg

Marguerite Patten OBE, the UK’s original celebrity chef, and Shadow Agriculture Minister, Bill Wiggin, MP, have called for a return to teaching simple, healthy cooking of the post-war generation as part of a campaign to mark the golden anniversary of British Lion eggs.

Marguerite launched the campaign at the House of Commons on Monday 8 October and then set off embarking on a tour of UK schools to recreate her famous cooking demonstrations of the 1950s.

Research shows that less than half of today’s children can boil, scramble, poach or fry an egg, let alone make an omelette and, although sales of eggs have increased by an extra 100 million this year, consumption is still only half that of the 1950s, while sales of ready meals, crisps and soft drinks have boomed.

Marguerite Patten says that today’s youngsters could learn a lot from the post-war generation that grew up cooking and eating fresh, simple foods: “It makes me angry that we worked so hard to keep people healthy during and after the war, with so little food, and, now we have an abundance, a great number of people are nowhere near as healthy as they should be,” she says.

“The Government and all of us who appreciate home cooked food must work to restore the teaching of basic cookery to all children before it is too late. There is already a whole generation of young people who have missed out on cookery lessons and need encouragement to cook. Too few people realise that you can cook a simple meal like an omelette in just a minute – far quicker and more nutritious than a ready meal.”

Bill Wiggin said: “It is important that we get more young people learning how to cook and there are a number of delightful dishes that can be quickly made with eggs. I am delighted that Marguerite will be going into schools to help inspire young people to cook with eggs. Eggs are a versatile, healthy and delicious part of a well balanced diet. British Lion Quality eggs are the best in the world and using them in cooking helps support Britain’s farmers.”

A special section on the website has been set up to show even beginner cooks how to tackle easy egg dishes from basic boiled, poached and fried to modern favourites such as pizza-style omelettes.

UK egg consumption was at its highest-ever – around 5 per person per week - in the 1950s, when the original ‘little Lion’, accompanied by the ‘Go to work on an egg’ TV advertising, was introduced to denote eggs marketed by the British Egg Marketing Board. The Lion mark was reintroduced in 1998, following the salmonella and eggs scare, to signify eggs that were not only British but also produced to the highest standards of food safety.