All across the UK in 20 FoodCycle hubs, volunteers spare a few hours of their time each week to go across the city collecting excess food from various suppliers then cooking it into delicious three course vegetarian meals. Last night I went and visited my local Foodcycle Hub in Liverpool to witness firsthand what happens in a hub kitchen.
The Liverpool Hub opened up a few months ago and for the past few weeks has been serving meals to about 40 people on average. I had gotten in touch with them via Twitter last week letting them know that I was thinking of coming for dinner this week while participating in the Breadline Challenge. I asked if someone would mind taking a couple of pictures of their collection so I could show a bit of a before and after. They not only did that but went one step further, inviting me to come and help prepare the meals!
The above photo shows what fruit and vegetables were donated to the Liverpool Hub yesterday from a local green grocer. These ingredients were supplemented with additional items that were either purchased or donated during food drives at local supermarkets to create the following menu:
- Butternut squash, sweet potato & lentil soup with bread
- Mixed salad
- Potato wedges
- Vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise
- Apple strudel & apple pie (donated prebaked) with custard
- Chocolate sponge with custard & melted chocolate
- Fruit salad
Everyone got stuck in either chopping vegetables, stirring pots of soup or pasta, serving, clearing up and washing dishes. I was in charge of making the soup, which initially was going to be a bit watery as there was just one butternut pumpkin involved so it was bulked up by adding about 500g of red lentils. This meant it had extra protein, more fibre and was more filling – but it also tasted amazing. Actually, everything was delicious! Hot, tasty, nutritious. Everything you need on a cold English evening! I have to admit though, the potato wedges got plenty of attention from me last night after a few days of fairly low-fat dinners… 😉
What I really enjoyed was how the volunteers interacted with the guests and we all got an opportunity to sit down, eat dinner and have a chat with the people who came which was really nice. At the end, any leftovers were packaged up and sent home with either guests or volunteers. We had lots of soup and bread leftover so I’ve taken some home to help boost what I’m eating the rest of the week during the Breadline Challenge!
I really enjoyed helping out at the Hub and will definitely be going again in the future. If you’d like to know more about volunteering with a FoodCycle Hub in your local area, check out the Foodcycle website.