Recycling bosses teach people how to cook without wasting food
RECYCLE for Greater Manchester is putting on free cookery classes to encourage people not to waste food. Our reporter Andrew Bardsley went along to find out more
ANYONE who has ever has had the fortune — some would say misfortune — of sampling a tasty dish served up by yours truly would testify that I am no Jamie Oliver.
So given the chance of participating in a cookery class, aiming to show how to transform even the most basic ingredients into a plate of food to remember, I would bite your hand off.
Luckily, just that type of event happened in Bury last week.
Organised by Recycle for Greater Manchester, the Love Food Hate Waste cookery class, as well as showcasing new recipes for amateur chefs to get their teeth into, aims to highlight the importance of cutting down on food waste.
They say that the average family of four could save up to £680 per year, just by changing the way they shop, store and cook food.
And judging by the turnout at the session in Chesham Fold Community Centre on a wet Monday night, that statistic is very appealing to a number of people.
Even on the morning before the class, the scale of the problem that food waste has become was brought into reality by figures released by supermarket giant Tesco.
The statistics show that 8,500 tonnes of food waste were generated at its stores and distribution centres in the first half of 2013 alone — and that 40 per cent of apples are wasted, and just under half of bakery items are thrown away.
The free session was led by Gideon Foster of Cracking Good Food, a social enterprise which teaches people around the region to cook cheaply and efficiently.
On the menu was a vegetable tagine, using parsnips, potatoes, onions, carrots, cucumber and almonds.
The near 20-strong group of punters were tasked with slicing and dicing the vegetables, which were then put into the stove, which was left in Gideon’s capable hands.
Helen Roadhouse, of Cracking Good Food, who also helped to lead the session, said the classes were about using what food people have to create a spectacular dish on a budget.
She said: “We want people to learn to cook cheaply. It is about using what you have in your cupboard. Just a little bit of spice could really transform what might look like a boring meal into something brilliant.
“It is about supporting people. Sometimes they feel a little intimidated when experimenting.”
And the people of Bury were certainly interested in that idea.
Jen Dickson, from Prestwich, said: “I recently went back to work after being on maternity leave, and it gives you some ideas for different things to make.
“I started to rely on ready meals so it is good to get some ideas for healthy food that is not very difficult to cook.”
Penny Friel and Yvonne Connolly, who are both nurses and work with NHS Choices in Bury, said they came along to take inspiration for the people for whom they care.
Penny said: “We want to get some ideas for service users. A lot of them rely on ready meals and we want to show them it is not that difficult to cook good food.
“A lot of people don’t have the cooking skills or have lost them over the years, and are socially isolated, so anything we can do to show them new skills and ideas will be helpful.”
And after all the hard work we are allowed to tuck into the finished product.
I may not have left as the next Heston Blumenthal, but I got home armed with some useful money saving tips.
For more information and tips visit lovefoodhate waste.com
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