There was a good response and a group of interested men came on the first day. Some were already cooking for themselves, as part of a couple or with children. We had some changing faces during the course due to illness, job interviews and new business enterprise. Some shared that it was a challenge to cook dishes that everyone would eat on a budget and
keep it interesting.
The group did not know each other to start and over the course of a few weeks, great banter and friendship developed between the men. It was a lovely place to be every Tuesday between 10am and noon, with an up-beat atmosphere in the kitchen, lovely smells and great results.
Each week the group made a starter and main course or a main course and dessert, some of which they ate for lunch yet there was always enough to bring home to share. Sometimes it was possible to make additional items or spend longer sharing food together.
Every participant received a folder to store the weekly recipes.On the last day, we had a celebration and the cookery studentsreceived a Certificate, chef hat, Just Look & Cook Cookery
Book, MABS 101 Recipe Book and a dish to replicate recipes.
Boosted by the success of these two courses, we are continuing our partnership with Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Educational Training Board (MSLETB) and plan to hold two further courses in Spring and Autumn 2018.
What makes this course different?
What makes this course different is firstly, Eileen and Joan, who take a real and genuine interest in helping participants fully engage in the cooking programme and with each other.
All the recipes included pictures outlining the steps so you don’t need to be a fluent reader or have English as your first language. Recipes are simple and economical and use easy measurements like 1 teaspoon, 2 carrots, 3 mugs etc., and no special equipment is needed. All participants were provided with a dish to make
for example apple crumble and they got to bring this dish home so they could recreate it.
The one-to-one support is invaluable where participants can chat face-to-face about opportunities and possibilities from MSLETB courses, to the TUS visitor who chatted with each person about community short-term work with TUS.
The men have told us that this course has made a real difference to them, that they have made new friends, have a newconfidence in the kitchen and as a result are cooking some of these dishes for themselves, their partners and children. We believe this boost has already made a difference with some of the participants getting interviews for jobs. Others are taking part in more cookery classes and have applied for the Special Cookery Course in 2018.
This course had a positive impact on a wonderful group of men, friendships were formed, new skills developed, personal confidence increased and this boost will we believe have a long-term effect.
We are very thankful to Cathy Powell and all at MSLETB for their support of this programme. Northside Community Centre is undergoing a kitchen renovation thanks to some grant funding,so there will be improved facilities for the next participants.
We would again like to thank Eileen Kirrane, Cook Tutor and Joan Moffitt, Family Learning Coordinator for making every participant feel special and giving individual intention, including on the first day of the course, procuring cake tins and ingredients and to make a splendid birthday cake.
For anyone interested in getting the ‘Just Look and Cook’ Cookery Book is published by Riverhouse Books and is available in Eastons (ISBN 978-0-9575789-0-6) or contact Eileen directly at justlookandcook.ie or on her Facebook page ‘Just Look and Cook’, 087-2708627.