19 June 2013

GUEST BLOG: Madras for the masses!

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

Following the success of previous Feeding The 5,000 events in London, Bristol, Dublin and Paris, Saturday's event in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens was another brilliant opportunity to highlight the extent of food waste that is going on in the UK.

What a wonderful and successful day it was in Manchester - huge crowds gathered and soaked up the atmosphere, sat in the sun, attended free cooking sessions led by Cracking Good Food, learnt about the food waste problem and how we can all help to tackle it, got to take away bread, teabags, oatcakes, avocados and other donated food, and ate a delicious, healthy and free meal. Enough vegetarian curry was cooked up to feed 5,000 people and the great thing was that it was made out of locally sourced vegetables that would otherwise have been wasted and ended up in landfill, but instead were rescued from Smithfield Market by FareShare! It really is a scandal that so much food is wasted when millions of people are going hungry. We hope the event has highlighted this problem and made the public more aware so that things will start to change.
It was a really busy day for CGF. We had three pods/tents, each accommodating groups of 10 and each running four cooking sessions throughout the afternoon. Sessions ran on the hour, every hour from midday till 4pm, giving 120 people the opportunity to benefit from a free cooking session as well as having the chance to eat the free vegetable madras curry afterwards - and share it with another 800 or so passers-by! We managed to attract a great mix of young and old, overseas visitors and Manchester residents, men and women, and everyone had fun chopping and preparing a wonderful mix of colourful vegetables for the curry. We used aubergine, courgettes, white potato and sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, onions, garlic, fresh coriander, red, green and yellow peppers, tomatoes, fresh chilli, paprika, turmeric, chilli flakes, garam masala, Thai curry paste, tinned tomatoes and mangetout - phew!

Once word had got out, we had queues forming long before the curries were even ready to serve, with many coming back for second helpings, and telling their friends and family. Some were even spotted scraping the large cooking pots with slices of bread to get every last morsel (the equivalent of 'licking the plate' in my eyes) - what a compliment! It was such a pleasure to be involved in this fantastic event and to be able to spread the word about food waste, share information about healthy eating, food sources and seasonal vegetables, have a chance to chat to the public, and join together for cooking and eating - this is what Cracking Good Food is all about!

There are loads of photographs and videos from Saturday now up on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page. Click here to be redirected.

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