Linden’s recipe for success

two cooks
TAKE TWO COOKS. Participants in the cookery demonstrations at Linden House Derek Blackiston (left) and Tony Rickard

Linden House has become a vital ingredient in a community bid to teach New Forest men how to cook.

Our Lymington dementia care home hosted a weekly cookery demonstration over the summer highlighting healthy dishes, food preparation and basic kitchen management.

The free two-hour sessions, led by New Forest District Council, were aimed at men over 55 who have limited experience of cooking for themselves. They may have a wife or long-term partner in hospital or care, or they may have become widowed or divorced.

“Men who haven’t cooked much before can often resort to ready meals or take-away food,” said Deborah Atkinson, one of two voluntary cooks who presented the course. “We’re aiming to give them the confidence to make healthier choices and show them they can cook basic good food on a budget.”   

Paddy O’Driscoll, Colten Care’s Catering Manager, said: “Our whole ethos is about caring for older people. Linden House residents enjoy excellent ‘home from home’ support including great homemade food. We were only too happy to extend this ethos and provide space and facilities for what is a much needed community initiative. It’s all about building skills for now and in the future.”

Participant Derek Blackiston said: “It’s given me fantastic encouragement and I know lots of other people who would want to come.” 

food glorious food

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD. Deborah Atkinson, voluntary community cook, with participants at one of the cookery sessions. At the table with her are, from left: fellow presenter David Peers; Councillor James Binns; and, with tie, Paddy O’Driscoll, Colten Care’s Catering Manager.

Councillor James Binns, Cabinet Member for Health and Leisure, said the New Forest had one of the highest ageing populations in the country and this brings with it new challenges. He said: “Some men who have previously never cooked before now find that they have to do it for themselves and this course helps to address that problem. The demonstrations are teaching them all the basics and the feedback from participants has been exceptional.”

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