Cooking from scratch

A Christchurch friend was waiting for a call from Red Cross when I phoned her on Friday.

She and her daughter had volunteered to do a five hour cooking shift.

They are safe and so is their home – there’s a big mess inside but it escaped with no major structural damage.  But they know people who are missing and many others whose home and businesses are in ruins.

They had power but no water from the taps but had prepared an emergency pack with food and bottled water after the first quake. She  knows how to cook from scratch and how to stretch basic food into appetising meals.

Heeding calls to conserve power and the need to use water sparingly she had cooked enough rice for three meals at a time as efficiently as possible.

Her instructions are:

Boil two cups of water. (If it’s not bottled water it must be boiled for three minutes to purify).

Put three bags of Uncle Ben’s rice (the wee bags that come in a bigger packet) into a 16cm pot.

Pour over rice until it’s just covered.

Put lid on pot and cook gently for 8 minutes.

They’d had rice salad and chicken with the first serving and she was planning to do a stir fry with the second.

She has worked a food consultant and used to take cooking classes. She wants to help others who don’t know how to cook meals from scratch and make basic food go further.

I suggested finding out if there was a school which had home economics rooms undamaged which might be used. If it was at or near a welfare centre, classes would give people camping their something useful to do.

There will be people like this all over the city with skills which are needed and people who need their help. All that’s required is some co-ordination to match them.

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