Cooking course gives food for thought

September 13, 2017

Hope Mitchell (left) dicing up a storm along with the rest of the class in a program aimed at improving Heathcote residents' cooking skills.

THERE has never been a better time to learn how to cook on a budget.

Though it may sound limiting, there are more options to throw into the mix than it may appear.

Heathcote Primary School is giving residents the chance to learn how to make delicious and healthy meals for themselves and their families while not breaking the bank.

Gardening and cooking specialist at HPS Michele Witham said a lack of interest in cooking had led to people’s eating habits becoming unhealthier.

‘‘People have lost interest in cooking so we are going back to basics and teaching them how to cook well under a budget,’’ Michele said.

‘‘Being able to produce healthy and tasty food at home without spending a fortune is the key aim of this program.

‘‘Obesity and nutritional deficiency are a big problem in today’s society so people need to know how to cook properly with the often limited options they have available to them.’’

Michele said she hoped this program could be expanded to provide its valuable lessons and guidance to more people.

‘‘This is just a pilot program at the moment but if successful we hope to get more government funding so it can be continued and grow even more,’’ she said.

‘‘The lessons we teach in these classes have a knock-on effect which benefit the whole community and is another reason they are so important to be teaching people.

‘‘We’ve had a cooking program running for the kids for around six years now and you can see how motivated they are from their lessons as well.’’

Program attendee Hope Mitchell said the lessons had been effective in honing and developing her skills in the kitchen.

‘‘My mother died when I was 17 so I didn’t get taught everything others would and this program has been fantastic for covering that stuff,’’ Hope said.

Fellow attendee Samantha Harvey said the organisation skills the program taught were invaluable tools to have at her disposal.

‘‘It teaches you how to be organised in the kitchen and buy ingredients efficiently, as well as how use the resources you have available well,’’ Samantha said.

Although the program will wrap up temporarily over the holidays, Michele said people were welcome to come along for any of the lessons being run.

The program is a six-week course which teaches attendees all they need to know about how to ‘manage their kitchen on a shoestring’, including guidance on household budgeting, how to stock your pantry and making bread and pasta from scratch.

It is free and funded by the Heathcote and District Community Bank.

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