I'm delighted with the outcome of the first phase of my online carers course: "Eat Well for Less". I've been able to run this course with Carers in Herts thanks to a grant from the Hertfordshire Community Foundation. The objectives of the course have been to provide carers with more confidence and cooking skills as well as an opportunity for interaction and sharing of knowledge.
Wise About Food has provided weekly cooking sessions on Zoom with an E-learning course through which carers have access to nutrition advice, recipe ideas, and tips on budgeting and meal planning. The Zoom sessions have been very well received.
In a questionnaire, users of the program said that they felt 'connected to the community' and it was 'fun to be part of the group'. Zoom has proved to be an excellent tool in reaching people who feel isolated in the community and the cooking sessions are great for bringing people together to share recipe ideas and cooking experiences.
Users said that the course helped them be 'more experimental' with their cooking and 'trying new recipes and adapting to use ingredients on hand', including using 'a different range of pulses, spices, and flours'. Users felt 'encouraged' and more confident in using cooking shortcuts. One user said their favourite demonstration was on how to prepare quinoa, and they loved the result when they made it themselves later.
A highlight of running this course has been receiving photographs of food that some of the users have prepared after our sessions. It is great to see visual feedback of the workshops, and how creative people can be.
One of the users made this butternut squash soup, and commented "the soup was delicious. I made it with a mild curry flavour. I gave it to my son, who usually doesn't like my soup and he gave it a thumbs up."
This wonderful quiche was made by one of our users. She said "I was so pleased with it and even made the pastry myself. I've never made a quiche before... I'm looking forward to trying the other recipes."
One of the users made this colourful risotto, and said "I'm enjoying the sessions and learning and gaining more confidence in cooking."
Our last session was this Wednesday. We finished off with a festive special session decorating Christmas cookies. It was great fun, and I look forward to starting sessions again in January.