The science of everyday life: inside Alberta's ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen
Home economics class can conjure images of burnt banana bread and experimental casseroles — a joy that some students today don't get. Many public schools have done away with "home ec" classes, but the idea of maintaining home and kitchen is alive and well in Alberta.
Since 1930, gas and energy company ATCO has run the Blue Flame Kitchen. It's a public resource and hotline where Albertans can reach living, breathing home economists for expert advice on everyday household questions. It's a service beloved by many who have bought cookbooks, watched demonstrations or called in for advice over the past 85 years.
Services like this run by utility companies and electrical manufacturers — like General Electric and Westinghouse — used to be commonplace, but now ATCO is the only one left in North America. But in a world of pre-packaged food, cooking apps and Google, how is ATCO's Blue Flame Kitchen still around? And who is using it? Meg Wilcox headed out to their Edmonton headquarters to find out.
Family studies class at Northern Secondary in Toronto
Home ec classes exist in about half the high schools in Toronto, and the class is now an elective, not mandatory like in previous years. Doc Project associate producer Julia Pagel went on a field trip to visit a thriving family studies class, and found Ms. Jen Marr at Northern Secondary School in Toronto.
Photo, clockwise from bottom right: family studies teacher, Ms. Marr; the meal that the teams prepared for their "Top Chef"-style assessment; students, Sarah Schacht and Paul Persic.