“Our accessible cookbook gives families the confidence to say, ‘we can try this recipe at home.'”
There are people from many different cultural backgrounds in our area, all with their own traditional meals and ways of cooking.
The families we work with are often keen to explore new, healthy ways of cooking but find that cookbooks can be confusing; the recipes aren’t always easy to follow and might include measurements and ingredients they’re not familiar with.
We designed our community cookbook Together we cook to include step-by-step, simple recipes as well as provide guidance to families on where they can buy ingredients locally. It was important for us to reflect our diverse communities by including recipes in our cookbook from all over the world; we just adapted them to be healthier.
People receive a cookbook when they complete our six-week Cook and Eat Well course. This involves two-hour weekly sessions where families cook new recipes and explore things like food labels. One family was really excited to get a book, saying, “Yes – we can try this recipe at home now”. Another told us that although they had looked through several books on introducing solids to their baby, they found ours had the greatest variety of recipes, which has since encouraged them to try different spices in their meals. They found our book to be practical and easy to follow.
The cookbook has increased our team’s visibility. Other colleagues at the Trust are now more aware of the work we’re doing. We had a book launch in April 2019 that was covered by BBC London and local press, where we invited local families and staff from children’s centres and the Trust. We also received an Evelina 150 Stars award – that celebrates the work of Evelina London staff throughout its special 150th birthday year – which we’re really proud of.
Funding from the Charity made Together we cook possible. The team were really helpful and provided support when there was no other funding available to us. The forms were easy and didn’t take long to complete. We were able to develop the book, get it printed and buy the ingredients for our sessions all with funding from donations. Other than occasional check-ins with the team, you’re pretty much left to get on with developing the project. If you have a good idea, just go for it – apply!
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