Learn to Cook: Testimonials

learn to cookWhat have you enjoyed about being part of the Learn to Cook course?

The sociability and making new friends, hopefully we might bump into each other in the near future and then we’ll know each other better”

I’ve wanted to do this because I was concerned about waste and sustainability. I’ve learned lots about impacts on the environment and learned lots of good healthy information”

I’ve enjoyed having the input into what we cook. I’ve learned to cook healthier versions of meals without additives, easier to make and cheaper as well, that’s been really important”

3I’ve liked the local community aspect of it, also learning about the community gardens which I had no idea about”

Learning how to cook from scratch”

The friendliness”

The knowledge about different ingredients, about different possibilities of cooking different cuisine, it’s very fascinating”

I’ve become more interested in cooking, yes it’s been good”

Meeting new people, and seeing how they cook, seeing how to make food without putting meat in”

I’ve met my neighbours who I didn’t know before”

It’s a good social gathering, as well as learning to cook”

It gives you new ideas; you wouldn’t normally think of putting some of the things together, it’s nice to experiment with the food, and spices”


What did you think about the food that you cooked?

Very good, I enjoyed it, it was healthy as well”

On a low income I find myself eating a lot of fast food and stodge. Coming here has made me realise that I should, maybe not 100%, but try and change my eating habits”

The local in season fruit and veg I’ve really liked. The food tastes much better if it’s in season”

Things have tasted a lot fresher”

Beetroot chocolate brownies! (laughs) I’d never heard of that before in my life! They are the first time I’ve enjoyed a brownie because I don’t like too much sweet stuff”

What was amazing is that I can’t normally have cakes, because I don’t eat eggs so I got to eat some of my first cakes for a long time, I really liked them”

The words ‘chocolate’ and ‘brownie’, it sounds a bit unhealthy, but you know inside it’s actually beetroot, and you thought oh yes, it’s healthy”

It’s another way to sneak veg down the kids, we’ve learnt a few of those tricks and that’s one of them. I brought the brownies home that night and said to the twins ‘what do you think of this?’ and they said ‘Yum!’ I told them afterwards they had beetroot in (laughs). You don’t expect to be able to sneak it in in the sweet food”

The garlic doughballs! I am dead excited about learning about different types of bread, I’m looking forward to trying the pitta bread, because I missed that week”


How likely are you to use these recipes in the future at home?

I’m very likely to use them; I’d very much like to use them”

I sometimes find it hard to follow recipes in a traditional cookbook, and I think, ah, it’s just a load of words and it doesn’t really mean anything, so it’s been really useful to see the meals being made, and being walked through the recipes. That for me has been the reason why I came along. I could have just got a book and followed that. To actually see it happen, and take part in that has been great”

Very likely (repeated by four others)”

I already do”

They were very inspiring”

I think also it’s given me more confidence to try new recipes. I have got a number of cookbooks, but I only end up using one that has all the basics in. I like making cake, so if I’ve got a recipe book with cake recipes I’ll probably make them, but the other recipes will probably get left. I think now, as well as trying recipes that we’ve done and the ones in the new Didsbury Dinners book we’ve been given. I think I am a bit more likely to try other recipes. I am hoping that I will carry on learning”

I find with more modern recipe books you don’t use as much ingredients in comparison, like eggs for example. It’s more likely that you’ll have the ingredients in your cupboard and less likely that you’ll have to go out buying extra special stuff. Cos a lot of it can cost a fortune”

What’s good about this is that you use healthier quantities and options like ‘Pure’ margarine (vegan margarine) instead of butter, I always put less in as well”


Have you made any changes at home since being on the course?

I’ve changed the way I shop. I was buying a lot of food from the supermarket and now I’m using the local grocery store and Unicorn (Manchester wholefoods shop). I just feel better about buying fresh stuff that is not shrink wrapped and has come from the neighbourhood. That is really nice”

I haven’t had a chance to yet. I think I will when I get a place of my own, instead of getting take away, or cooking what my mum always cooks, which is meat based foods”

One of the changes I’ve made is that I’ve started cooking in bulk, because it actually saves a lot of time. I’ve also started using less salt”

I’ve changed the way I’m cooking, and I understand better what I’m doing, all the different tips that you pick up as you go along, talking about different foods, different aspects of the foods, bits that you can freeze and keep, I’ve been doing that, for example with herbs, so those little tips have been really helpful as well”

16325cc26907e86608aa5ca738f866a5Most of all, getting more vegetables in my children, which feels like an eternal problem with the two little ones”

Once you’ve got the preparation down, the cooking is so easy, I think that’s what takes up the time, even to use frozen veg that can go straight in the pot helps”

With the Thai curry we made today, you could make the curry paste, make double and save it, and then on another day I can still make a nice meal quite quickly”

I use my blender all the time now to make some of the foods easier for the kids to eat”

You usually end up throwing a lot of the food away because it doesn’t get eaten, but with veg it’s a lot easier”

I’ve noticed it’s a lot more fun cooking with other people, because I usually cook on my own”

I used to find cooking quite miserable, one of the reasons I came on the course, partly ‘cos I don’t think I’m a brilliant cook, was that I was hoping it would reignite some interest, I’ve been cooking meals for the family for nearly 20 years and it becomes this thing you do every day, that you don’t really look forward to, it just feels like a chore, I love feeding everybody and that makes me happy, but the course has made me more interested again, much more interest in what I’m cooking, what it’s made from, where it’s come from. I enjoy cooking more”


Mother talking about son who is also on the course: “He’s made some really nice food since he’s been on the course, he’s enjoyed it and has been following the recipes”

I found the course really interesting, really eye-opening; you get to know a lot of people, and the food as well. I tend to take a lot of pictures on the course and share with my friends who now look forward to hearing from me each Thursday night after the course to see how I’m getting on. It’s really good the social side, sharing it, for example with friends in China. My friends here keep asking when I’m going to invite them over for dinner now I’ve been on the course (laughs)”

I’ve learned from some of the tips, for example, the pasta cooking tip, you don’t need to keep boiling the pasta, you can let it stand on the side, which is again another eco side of it, you know, reduction in how much electricity I’m burning off while I’m cooking is really useful, I quite often use that still warm hob to start cooking something else, I found that tip really useful”


Click here for recipes from our Didsbury Food Trail tea party and some of the recipes from Didsbury Dinners: The Low-Carbon Community Cookbook; the UK’s only low-carbon cookbook.

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