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The Magnificent Fred. From Service User To Volunteer.

Cook-Inn has, from its inception, purposed to be Incipscous. That is, to collect free fresh produce, use some of it to run cooking – ‘Cook-Inn’, classes, and distribute the remainder to suitable service users in parts of East and Midlothian. On the 10th of February this was realised again in the winter soup recipe with Fred Coxon. Please note the word ‘again’ as this is a continuation from others thought in the art of food production namely, Gordon Parker, Susan Boyle, etc.

The day’s challenge was how to turn a selection of vegetables into a nice tasty soup service users could enjoy. One notably unusual ingredient was aubergine, egg plant, which perhaps is not a favourite for soup making here in Scotland but should serve as an experimental ingredient being a non-allergen product for our local residence. Included in the mix was spinach, sweet potato, and some other winter vegetables. One non-winter vegetable included romaine lettuce.

Cook-Inn is unique because it often times prepare meals from food donated which means that recipes are created on the spot instead of following set ones available online. Fred knew this and sensed that the challenge ahead was to be a new debut in his lifelong culinary journey.

In order for him to prepare the soup, for 35-40 people, he have to ensure all the ingredients and in one place, chopped, and washed before cooking. A sequence of steps needed to be taken during the ‘Cook-Inn’ process such as sweating the chopped onion and herb, adding the harder vegetables first then the chicken stock. The softer vegetables were added nearing the end and cooked for few minutes.

Safety was paramount and Fred was shown how to work with large amount of food. That was, precautions necessary to reduce risk of injury such as placing ingredients into the large pot by pouring away from the face. Also, that it was safer to add the vegetables before the boiling water and hot chicken stock which reduce the risk of being splashed by the hot soupy liquid.

Hygiene was also promoted to ensure high food standard. Fresh and clean protective clothing was worn to reduce food contamination but also to promote professionalism. Proper hand hygiene was essential to prevent cross-contamination. He demonstrated the practice of cleaning as you go to reduce the build up of clutter in the small kitchen space.

At the end, he was able to share some of the soup with the volunteers of the day before they embark upon their delivery journey. One thing is sure is that Cook-Inn is becoming quiet inspirational as it is incipscous. It is empowering local community members in proper and safe culinary practices while preventing quality fresh supermarket produce from going to waste. A lot more is coming from this a magnificent person and the hope is that the community will be a better place as he continues his ‘Cook-Inn’ development.


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