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Why cooking and eating together is important

16 December 2020

With more of us cooking and eating at home in recent months, here Sharon Robinson, Family Action’s Food On Our Doorstep (FOOD) Regional Coordinator (North), explains the importance of cooking and eating together within her own family.

You might think that working with food all day at the FOOD Clubs would put me off cooking when I get home from work – but quite the contrary! For me cooking is a way of relaxing after a busy day at work (all days at work are busy so I do a lot of cooking!).

Life in our house is centred on the kitchen – this is where all our communication as a family takes place. Whether we’re chatting about the day, deciding what’s for tea, or preparing food together – it’s a place for meeting, a place for talking, a place for laughing and a place to spend quality time with the whole family.

It’s always been important to me to get the kids involved in cooking, even from an early age. I have 3 children and they’re all now able to prepare meals and snacks from scratch – and they’re pretty good I have to say. In fact my son made a Spanish Chicken stew for us all recently – delicious! I think for them it’s a time to switch off from school, potter in the kitchen, and be creative. And I often find when we’re cooking together the children will open up, talk about what’s worrying them, or simply what’s happening in their lives. Learning to cook has definitely helped them become more confident and independent.

I’m lucky that I’ve worked with amazing professional chefs, community cooking leaders, and families throughout my career who’ve inspired me not to be afraid of trying new recipes or incorporating different ingredients. I hate waste. Working for FareShare gave me a good insight into the huge amount of food that goes to landfill in the UK, which has inspired me to always try and use up any food we buy rather than waste it – sometimes in creative ways! I think that all explains why I like experimenting with my cooking so much. It’s always been important to me to get the kids involved in cooking, even from an early age.

“It’s always been important to me to get the kids involved in cooking, even from an early age.”

One thing I really enjoy is the time I spend in the kitchen with my brother. Each month we agree on a theme and spend a few weeks reading about the food and deciding what to cook.  We like to try something different each month and have recently enjoyed Korean and Lebanese (in different months, not together!). Working together gives us confidence to experiment with new techniques and ingredients – the strangest being liquid smoke I think. Over the months cooking together has enabled us to experience all kinds of wonderful foods, tastes and smells that we hadn’t tried before – as well of course, as giving me lots of time to spend time with my fabulous little brother, chatting, laughing, and joking.

After a busy day in the kitchen, what I like the most is when we all sit down and enjoy a fabulous meal together. In fact, for me that’s what I look forward to most about my weekends – cooking along with family, and then enjoying the fruits (or veg!) of our labour. I think that’s why I’m so pleased to be working at FOOD Club, as I am able to share my love of food, of cooking, of experimenting with different ingredients with local families, and of the joy I find in eating tasty meals together as a family.

About Sharon

Sharon has worked for a wide range of food services over the years, such as FareShare and Cracking Good Food, and is now our Regional Coordinator (North) for FOOD Clubs, where some of her clubs have been delivering Cookalong4Families sessions.

Find out more about our Food On Our Doorstep (FOOD) service and how we’re supporting families to eat and live healthily during a difficult year.