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Learning to Cook

On Saturday, Sarah who is enabled to live more independently in Leeds, had planned to go to Jamie Oliver’s cookery group where they were going to learn how to cook some of Jamie’s dishes. “Before we went we stopped off to get some cheese toasties for lunch, but later we would realise that we should have just gone to Jamie’s for lunch.”

As soon as they arrived the session had begun; the first lesson revolved around how to correctly prepare food and how to be hygienic in the kitchen. “We put on aprons and washed our hands before being taught how to use the knife safely. The leader, Neil, taught us how to put your hand into the claw shape so you can chop vegetables carefully. He said that you must always tuck your fingers in because no one wants a finger in their pasta!”

Neil cooked the dish first to show how it should be done and then when everyone was comfortable with the method they all had a go, Neil watched and was available to help should anyone need it, but Sarah and everyone else were already storming ahead with their preparation.

“First we had to chop the onion and chilli. I took the seeds out of my chilli because I didn’t want it too spicy. Neil taught us how to use that rocking motion when you cut veg and also how to pit olives by using your thumb and pushing on the olive. There were stones flying everywhere. It was hilarious.”

Sarah has learnt many skills which she has passed onto us when we go to the kitchen; such as putting a pinch of salt in when you cook pasta so it doesn’t stick together. “I had fun mixing all the ingredients and watching the meal come together. I enjoyed the company of the other people who were there and we all had a laugh cooking together. There was so much food left over that I had some to take home with me.”

On Sunday, Sarah was so inspired by the cookery group she made homemade burgers from scratch. “I cooked them with caramelized onions, cheese and potato wedges.” Sarah has learnt so much from this group that she has applied the techniques she learnt there into her cooking at home. “I’m going to make more things from scratch and cut things up safely with what Neil taught me.” Sarah recommends culinary classes to anyone, “I think it’s an opportunity that everyone should have a go at, you learn how to prepare and cook food properly. Cooking doesn’t have to be serious or a chore, you can have fun with the people you want to cook for or eat with. These classes are a great way to meet people too, I have already booked another class in October!”

At ubu, we believe in encouraging greater independence, so with Sarah’s advice and her new expertise in the kitchen we agree that anyone who has this opportunity should take it. The skills she has acquired can be reapplied into her own lifestyle. Sarah even brought her leftover pasta-bake into the office so that she could share both the food and the experience with all of us and we have to say, it truly was delicious. “I love cooking my own food and I’ve learnt so much more now, everyone should have a go and share their food with their friends and family.”


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