New Bognor initiative provides vulnerable families with slow-cookers, ingredients and recipes
A new initiative is providing vulnerable families with a free slow cooker and a weekly care package of fresh ingredients in a bid to develop their culinary skills.
It’s the brainchild of Aida Akmar Kaman and Will Murphy, Bognor Regis business partners who also provide home-cooked, microwaveable meals to ‘families in acute crisis’.
Both projects are part of Food Equally Distributed (FED) and expand on the same core philosophy: bringing quality, home-cooked food to the people who need it most.
“The idea is to actually encourage the families to move away from microwave and ready meals but, at the same time, not tax their cooking skills too much. So we give them a slow cooker and all the ingredients to make a meal for that week,” Ms Kaman said.
Funded by the Sussex Community Foundation, the scheme is already well underway. Recipes have run the gambit from hearty sausage casseroles to more adventurous lentil chillis, but the ultimate goal is always the same: to get people interested in food and confident in their abilities.
Ms Kaman said she and her team of volunteers take pains to make sure the process is as simple and approachable as possible. Ingredients- right down to the spices- come pre-measured so all participants have to do is put them in the slow-cooker. The team also make provisions for participants with specific dietary requirements.
Eventually, she hopes, participants will feel comfortable experimenting with more ambitious challenges: baking homemade bread and cinnamon rolls or browning off meat before tossing it in the slow-cooker.
“It’s about helping people take responsibility for their lives. It’s not just about giving them food and leaving them in the lurch- we want to provide structure, to help them acquire new skills,” she said.
A few weeks and a couple of dishes into the eight week programme, she thinks her efforts are already doing the trick. Feedback has been positive, she said, and the families are making the most of the chance to learn a new skill.
“The family really enjoyed the veggie casserole,” said one participant “the ingredients had been really well thought out and made for a tasty, filling meal with everything included.”
“It’s the first meal I’ve done in a long time that wasn’t stressful and fit around the family,” another added.
To find out more about Ms Kaman and FED, like and follow its Facebook page.