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Cooking with Mrs Whisk 20 Apr

Ruth Wilkinson, owner of Wooden Spoon and Whisk, works with us on a number of our educational events. During the Coronavirus pandemic, she has been working with some of Oxford University's staff to provide online cookery lessons and lets us in on the work she's being doing with them during this time...

Friends at Oxford University approached me to see if I would like to do a cookery slot for some of their staff and children, who like us all were working remotely at this time. I was happy to do my bit and help, to do what I could to support children and families in this interesting time we all find ourselves in. I have taught cookery lessons to children and adults for the past 12 years; My passion comes from teaching about where our food comes from, how to turn it into nutritious meals and reduce food waste. Every Monday I would have 15 minutes to show a dish that would be suitable for all ages and abilities.

At the time that I was approached the panic buying had started and food security for many of us was becoming a real issue. I decided to focus my recipes on “store cupboard” essentials that would make delicious and nutritious lunches and dinners, suitable for all ages and abilities to make.

I posted a couple of pictures on my own Instagram account and got interest from friends and friends of friends to see if their children could join in, so I set up a second laptop via Zoom and opened it up to anyone who was interested. I have had enquires from London to Scotland and anywhere in between.

The first week we did Baked Bean Lasagne, it has been by far the most popular dish with all ages. One child made this dish for his mum on her birthday, what a gift to come home from work and have your tea cooked for you (even if you are working in the next room). This is good stuff, upskilling ourselves in a time of crisis, these skills will go with us on through life long after the coronavirus has been resigned to the history books.

Oat cookies were made for the week of Easter and feedback from one family was that “even though there wasn’t any chocolate in our house for Easter it was ok as we could make oat cookies and that was just as good.” Children have made the cookies and their parents have taken them to neighbours to extend neighbourliness at this time of crisis. Other feedback from when we made hummus was that how easy, tasty and cheap it was to make.

Quote from Bella aged 10 “It has encouraged me to do more cooking. I really enjoyed watching and it was nice to choose the ingredients, weight them out and bake them. The oat cookies were really nice, and I can’t wait to cook more things."

Finally, I would like to add; Engaging in the production/creativity of our food is so good for our mental health, taking time out from a screen to decide and create your food gives us more than full tummies it gives a sense of achievement. In these uncertain times, it is good to challenge ourselves if you have never cooked before and you start by making yourself a boiled egg on toast, well done this is a great nutritious dish and one you should be proud of.

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