Helen

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a post pandemic retiree who decided there was still far too much left to do in life to be working. So after a varied career in administration, computer programming, school support roles and marketing for a local charity I’ve resolved to spend less time on the computer and more time doing new things.  I love photography and other creative endeavours, am part of a local church community, and spend as much time as I can outdoors – walking and exploring.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Food etc?

It is one of my new things!  I became interested in healthy cooking after a health scare which had me looking into eating to improve heart health, blood sugar levels and cholesterol. I’ve ditched ultra-processed foods and learned a lot. Now I am keen to pass on a passion for cooking from scratch and help others into a healthier way of eating.

What do you enjoy most about working with Food etc?

I love the enthusiasm of children and their parents when they come to the sessions eager to spend time cooking together.  Then that big smile and thumbs up as they tuck into the food they have just prepared is so uplifting.

Have you had any challenges?

The biggest challenge was getting started – not knowing how running the sessions was going to go, but I needn’t have worried.   Other challenges include remembering what kitchen equipment is available as I plan each session and knowing how many are going to turn up to any session.  Oh, and there was the time I forgot to bring the potatoes!

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with Food etc?

It is a very supportive community you will be joining and you need never feel alone.  You will have someone alongside you to share the running of sessions and there are a variety of age groups you could be delivering to so come along, observe a few different sessions and you will soon see how you can fit in .  It is a really worthwhile and rewarding organisation to get involved in.

What’s your go to healthy meal – inspire us?

I try to always have some homemade tomato sauce in the freezer – then I can heat it up with added vegetables, tuna, or spinach and mozzarella and serve with some pea or lentil pasta. If I have the oven on with a bit of space on a shelf then in goes a tin or whole tomatoes with a dash of olive oil, pinch of salt and a chopped clove of garlic.  After 30 or 40 minutes, I take the potato masher to it and it is ready to freeze for those times when I need a quick but healthy dinner.  If I have plenty of time, then my go to meal to cook is a vegetable moussaka.  I do love an aubergine.