27 September 2013

GUEST BLOG: Waste not, want not

By guest blogger MAZ

What a beautiful sunny day we got to enjoy in Rochdale's Falinge Park last Sunday, working with the community to learn how to Love Food Hate Waste, a campaign run by Recycle For Greater Manchester.

The organiser Catherine and her eager volunteers were already converted and helped us rally the small but committed band of visitors to join Cracking Good Food and learn to cook fresh, healthy meals on a budget, with no waste. We were making tasty tagine, which can use up just about any vegetables you have left knocking around at the end of the week and you can freeze portions if you don’t need all of it. The vegetables are spiced up with cumin , paprika, cinnamon and mild chilli powder and, of course, dried apricots and sweet honey add that special Middle Eastern flavour! I was asked if we wanted some herbs from the community garden so off I went to pick a selection. With four types of mint and other tasty choices, I knew the couscous and tzatsiki would taste even better, and nothing was wasted as I could just pick the amount we needed. What a great start!

Our young participants were happy chopping away with their parents’ support and encouragement, so we quickly had our onions caramelising, creating a smell that everyone was enjoying. Then came carrots, parsnips and peppers followed by the spices, after they had been sniffed and tasted by all, and honey. Finally we added the dried apricots and tinned tomatoes - resourcefully opened as the tin openers malfunctioned!

 As the tagine bubbled away, we discussed how most households waste around £50 month on food. One woman explained how she buys food for visitors and then they can’t come and another mentioned the changing tastes of her young granddaughter from day to day. These circumstances can be hard to overcome, but we managed to convince another woman, who admitted she threw things away before the end date as she knew she wouldn’t use them in time, to put these items in the freezer along with leftovers. We also explored packet sizes and use-by dates, and came up with lots of ideas how to reduce this waste straight away.

The tagine was ready and everyone ate well, including the apprehensive boxing demonstration next to us, some of whom had seconds! I had a great day and felt the community spirit in full swing - everyone had come together to make this event work and I left feeling that our contribution helped inform and remind us all how good it is to cook and eat together.

Our next Love Food Hate Waste session takes place in Dukinfield on 17 October, with further sessions taking place around Greater Manchester until 4 December. All are free to take part in; visit our website for further details and to book your free place. Click here to be redirected.

There are more photos from this event on our Facebook page.

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