Food 4 Thought, based in Salford, teaches anyone over the age of 18 how to cook healthy, home-cooked meals, which can be made in bulk and then frozen.
The group has quite a few older members, many who live alone, who have begun to enjoy cooking again – especially knowing they can freeze the food in order to have it at home.
With Food 4 Thought’s courses they can provide the means and the encouragement for people to cook at home, bringing back the pleasure of cooking and baking. The group is inter-generational; they involve all of the family, from grandparents to children, to take an interest in good health and tasty home-cooked food.
As well as teaching individuals how to cook, the group helps with planning menus and making shopping lists. This often shows that it is cheaper, healthier and more satisfying to cook fresh.
Food 4 Thought also encourages people to try new things they probably wouldn’t try if they were cooking on their own at home. This increases the enjoyment and satisfaction they can get from the whole process, from shop to cooker, to plate, to belly. Safety in the kitchen and the need for food hygiene is also a subject the group focuses on.
One attendee, Graham (78), lives on his own and has no friends or family nearby. He looks forward to attending each week and has now made friends who meet every day. He arrives each week with a smile and admits looking forward to the sessions.
Each week Graham takes home a recipe to try and gets his carer to shop for the items. He also passes on the recipes for his carers to try. He has health issues but feels more confident now he has made friends with people who care. One member visited him while he was in hospital for three days – last time he was admitted to hospital, he had no visitors. As well as making friends at Food 4 Thought, the people he has met have also given him contact with more people outside of the group as he has joined a local church.
Graham said: “You don’t know how much it means to me to be here and have made so many friends in such a short time.”