I love looking back at what I was doing a year ago, it reminds me how much has changed and how I could never have predicted what was coming next. For an ex-Project Manager, planning my own life since taking voluntary redundancy has been an almost impossible task!
For the last 2 years I have, with my husband and friend Vicki, volunteered at our kids Scout Group to cook for their annual 4 day Group Camp for 80+ children, family and Leaders.
I was asked to head this up a few years ago, I wasn't sure I could do it, yet for me it was the only solution that made sense. My son who has been on camp many times (the allergic one who has influenced so much in my life) would often have reactions at food times and despite asking for equipment to be kept separate, food to be bought that he could eat, he would end up being itchy or have poor food options that were different to his peers.
Taking charge of the cooking not only meant working out how much food 80+ people need for 3 meals a day, plus snacks, plus drinks (sorry about the tea incident!) it also meant I could work out the menu. I created a menu that would be safe for Nath and that no one else would realise was mostly dairy-free. Of course I had cheese on the side for the bolognaise night and it was an option in the make your own sandwiches too. It meant I could make sure that anyone who needed to (and my son wasn’t the only one) could either come to the front of the queue if cheese was on offer, or have something set aside for them so there was no risk of cross-contamination. It also meant everyone ate the same food, it really is a big deal for people with allergies, feeling left out as they’re eating something different to everyone else.
It also meant I could buy specialist food for the kids and adults that needed it and remain in budget. No one went without and we always had LOTS of leftovers. OK, I did underestimate the amount of tea bags we’d need, I don’t drink the stuff, I had no idea! Luckily one of the leaders had a large stash. I did also forget to get the ham out one lunchtime and couldn’t work out why the tuna mayo and egg mayo were going so quickly and I learned loads along the way! The biggies being don’t over complicate and accept all offers of help - although at 6am that was few and far between!
The food was on-time, really well received and it was at the camp in 2018 that we had cooked at that I was asked if I had considered doing this kind of work for a living, it certainly sowed a seed!
My kids have now grown out of Scouts and I will miss the crazy Bank Holiday weekend in May that took so much work, that was so rewarding and that generated an idea in my head that has led to Wombie's Kitchen becoming a reality.
What were you doing a year ago and how has it influenced your life?