Testimonials: Men Making Meals

A single dad of a 7 year old boy started PCHP cooking sessions in August 2013 and participated in the Men Making Meals group (mmm…cooking) for 2 terms (16 cooking sessions in total).

He started with the mmm… group because his son was having eating problems. His son had issues with food that were directly related to his autism (his son didn’t like to mix different foods due to their different colours). For his dad, cooking was very challenging but he was determined to ask for help in order to support his son and feed him well. He came to the PCHP project asking for tips and cooking ideas to cook for his son, to ensure he could provide a more varied and nutritional meals.

The PCHP cooking sessions “increased my cooking skills and knowledge about healthy eating”. He also stated “me and my son benefitted from them, I was cooking more at home, I also learnt to cook meals on a budget, due to my then limited budget”. The group encouraged his confidence and taught him more cooking techniques “the little secrets to make cooking a wee more special, more interesting”.

After finishing the 16 sessions with PCHP, the dad continued cooking in different groups in the area; he got more involved in community groups for dads, learning different skills and recipes from other people. Then he did the Elementary Food hygiene training, got the certificate and realized he wanted to put into practice what he had learnt. He was nominated the cook of the Us Together group and lead some cooking sessions there. Then he and a family support worker from One Parent Support Scotland had the idea of forming a “wee group to give something back to the local community”.

He felt he’d been supported by PCHP and other agencies in the area, he’d learnt from other local people and now it was time to give back. One Parent Support Scotland got some funding that will allow this dad to rent space and buy ingredients to deliver cooking sessions in the area. He feels he is ready to do it now but he’s also keen to continue training in order to learn and be more confident. That’s why he got in contact with PCHP Food worker, to ask for support for his training and for tips he can put into practice when delivering. PCHP food worker met him and briefed him about planning and evaluating cooking sessions, recipes on a budget available, food safety and food hygiene. PCHP will continue to support him by covering cost of future Food and Health training, by inviting him to the future Nutrition toolkit training, by lending him children aprons and by providing PCHP cooking folder for tutors. PCHP is currently supporting him to deliver more sessions of Mad Cooking.

His advice to others is “not be afraid, try and be creative, experiment in the kitchen and never think you cannot do it”. He hopes he “inspire other people to do more cooking and carry on”. His son is taking small steps (he’s started to put 2 ingredients together) that for him are huge steps and he stated that “everything started when he came to PCHP and took part in the mmm… cooking sessions“.