Men over the age of 65 have taken part in a culinary course to raise their confidence in the kitchen, make new friends and improve their diet.
Sanctuary Housing and Rochford District Council have provided funding for Radish Cookery to lead eight sessions for older male residents living in the Rochford district who want to learn how to prepare their own healthy meals.
The course, aptly named Man with a Pan, introduces the men to cooking and provides easy recipes for delicious meals to impress their families.
Basic kitchen skills are covered, including batch cooking and timings, portion sizes, store cupboard essentials, seasonal ingredients, dough and pastry, as well as making soup, salads and using up leftovers.
During the three-hour classes, the men discuss healthy eating in older age with the group leader while dishing out jokes among their new friends. Afterwards, they sit together to enjoy the food they have cooked and take home any leftovers.
One participant said: “My daughters couldn’t believe that I’m cooking. One bought me my apron and I love it. I’m staying with my other daughter in New Zealand for four months and I’m taking the recipes with me so I can cook for everyone!”
Another added: “I lost my partner 18 years ago and have lived on ready-meals ever since. Clare has given me the confidence to have a good fresh dinner, cooked by me.”
Clare Mitchell, Community Cookery Leader from Radish Cookery, commented: “It was great to hear the group chatting about reducing the amount of processed and convenience foods they will eat, replacing it for home-cooked food."
“Peer support was the key to creating a fun, friendly atmosphere at each session.”
Sarah Alderton, Public Health Improvement Officer at Rochford District Council, commented: “Eating well is key to maintaining good health in older age. This course has given residents the skills and knowledge to do just that, helping them to create simple, healthy, affordable meals and make positive changes to their diet.”
This project was part-funded by Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.