Come for the Food, Stay for the Company - Eat Well Workshops
On 2nd October I attended my first Eat Well workshop. Fully disclosure, I am a member of the Thurso Grows team and so when I went, I had a rough idea of what the workshop was about but I haven’t been based in Thurso until now, so I haven’t been able to attend many of the events yet. I expected to maybe pick up a few tips about how to reduce my food waste at home, but I do already love a veggie meal and hate waste, so I am reasonable conscious about these things.
I am aware that the main aim of these workshops is to get people looking at their food choices. Every year the amount of food wasted could cover China. If carbon emissions from food waste were to be categorised as a country, it would be the 3rd biggest emitter in the world. Food waste is a real issue in the fight against climate change and something that we can help influence with our food choices at home. Ann’s workshop series will look at how we can reduce our carbon emissions through reducing our waste, using vegetables more in our cooking and cooking more with seasonal produce so that our food is reducing its mileage.
When I first arrived, I was about 15 mins early at the community café, in the old Tempst Café, and there was already a buzz about the place. Alexander was in the kitchen baking cottage cheese and parsley scones and rolling out the bread for home made garlic bread. Ann, one of our project co-ordinators, greeted me and let me know tonight’s meal would be macaroni cheese (my favourite!), garlic bread and salad. The pudding was eton mess. Meringues had been pre-made to allow time to make the eton mess.
More and more people arrived until there was about 15 people there, all cooking together and chatting about what we like to cook, what we are good at, what we would like to learn. What we could bring in future weeks and recipes we could share with each other. I expected a learning environment, but this was a class room like no other.
I chatted with Margaret, while we waited for everyone to arrive, discussing our sick dogs and the woes that come with that. As we prepared salad and chopped Kale, Natasha told me all about her excitement of taking part in Rock Challenge for the first time discussed how accident prone we are. Over dinner Ellie discussed with me how she had come to arrive in Caithness and how she had lived all over the world. With people how had been strangers less than an hour before, I sat and chatted about our top tips for chopping onions without ending up in tears, about how fussy our families are to cook for, about how to get fluffy pancakes.
When I walked in to the Eat Well workshop, I expected cooking and learning. What I didn’t expect was to leave feeling lighter and happier for connecting with people that I may never have spoken to otherwise. We live in a small community and it is easy to fall into complacency when it comes to meeting new people. I know I certainly have in the past and have felt that I have all the friends that I want but attending this workshop has made me realise that there are many more people out there that I can learn from and connect with.
I would absolutely recommend attending all or at least 1 of these workshops as it runs from now until 29th January, barring Christmas Day and New Years Day. Thanks to our funding from Climate Challenge Fund, we are offering these workshops free. Although the first dinner cost a total of £16 to feed 15 people with leftovers for people to take home, so it really is about reducing your meal costs at home!