GCU Cook and Eat initiative exemplifies Glasgow community

The Glasgow Cookery Book – a hundred years old and now the basis of a healthy-eating program for families in the Drumchapel region of Scotland’s second city.

Not that the Scots knew how to eat healthier a hundred years ago, but a designated portion of the proceeds from the sale of the centenary edition of the book are being funnelled into Glasgow Caledonian University, which they are then taking to the Drumchapel community in the form of cookery courses, a catchment zone of the Glasgow Corporation’s overspill and a legacy of rebuilding in the city in the 1950’s.

The GCU Campus plays host to Caledonian Club’s healthy eating project tagged ‘Cook and Eat’ (to the point, you have to say) and will open its doors to Cloan Nursery children’s parents to partake in the cookery courses the Human Nutrition and Dietetics students, their mentors and the GCU staff have put together from their share of the profits of The Glasgow Cookery Book.

It is hoped that the cookery classes will not only spread the word about healthy eating for what the children bring to school in their lunch boxes but also what the parents can cook up once they’re back home. The Caledonian Club is the University’s outreach program into the community beyond the campus, for which it has won awards for encouraging (and getting) engagement and participation from the surrounding populace.

All aspects of cookery will be covered, including hygiene, budget and nutrition

The initial cookery classes, which will take the form of workshops, will be instructive not just in cooking, but also food hygiene, eating healthily within a budget and how to maximise nutrition in the lunchbox. The secondary aim of the community-related initiative will be cookery courses in preparing similarly healthy meals from scratch, rather than pay over the odds for pre-boxed ready-meals, devoid of much of the nutrition that cooking from the base ingredients delivers and worse, often filled with fillers and preservatives, especially those tagged as ‘healthy eating’ alternatives.

Once the parents have been put through their paces by the GCU students, their children will be invited to take part in the final cookery class in the hope that they will start to value nutrition from an early age and will take that through with them into later life.

This is a real story about how, by helping the community beyond the walls of education, the community gives back to the university, which prior to 1993 was actually two schools, Glasgow Poly and The Queens College. The £4,000 raised to fund the Cook and Eat project came from a share of the iconic cook book but also from alumni and friends of the GCU, some who have been part of The Caledonian Club themselves.

It is very much a community venture in the heart of the housing estate for the locals within. A fantastic example of symbiotic existence when all too often today’s attitude is every man for himself. We wish the venture every success and hope both the message and the aim of the cookery course serves to inspire others to do the same.

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