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By Nathalie Bufton, Head of Independent Living Skills at NCW

Blog published 25th January 2017 | Category: Supporting VI Students

I am a self-confessed “foodie” and I really enjoy my food, eating out and trying new products. Many of our learners at NCW do not know how to make their favourite food and rely on a convenience form. Where I believe there is always a time and place for a takeaway or a shop bought item - sometimes it does not hit the spot or meet requirements of taste, satisfaction or nutrition. During enhancement sessions with the sixth form, we are giving the learners the opportunity to plan, buy and make their favourite foods. This has been quite an experience for us all.

This Christmas I chanced across a Delia Smith recipe for Colonial Curry and it transformed my leftover turkey, taking me nostalgically back to my childhood where the limited number of ingredients available meant foods were simpler. This week’s session with the students about favourite foods made me think about the complexities involved in one of our simplest of pleasures.

Food for many of our learners is simply a fuel, for some a chore and a few a thrice-daily ordeal. What should be an everyday task of visiting a supermarket, or the great pleasure of eating in a restaurant can actually be the opposite when embarked upon without the skills and experience required.

Next time you start to cook dinner, have a think about how you would complete the task if you were visually impaired, heat phobic or texture averse. Imagine you have never been shown how to cut a mango, cannot access YouTube to find out how, or if you could – did not have the dexterity to complete the task. Next time you pop out for a bite to eat at a restaurant or café imagine yourself hoping that you will be able to cut and manage it without drawing attention to yourself.

They say we eat with our eyes and we certainly do, in more ways than one. These sessions at NCW are so much more than learning how to cook – we are accessing the joy of food with our young people, and working on strategies to ensure that none of them misses the very great pleasure of eating tasty satisfying food.

For an associated article, see My Culinary Speciality

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