“Food means everything to me because food reminds me of great and happy memories that I share with my loved ones and others! I love food”
For the past seven years, Global Generation has been running The Friday Night Out (FNO) Project for children aged 7 to 14 in the Caledonian area of Islington.
The FNO sessions used to be based at The Jean Stokes Centre in the Caledonian area, but more recently have been taking place at the Story Garden in Somers Town. The Story Garden sessions are outdoors, often incorporating plant harvesting and campfire cooking into the sessions. Global Generation’s amazing international community chefs, Sadhbh Moore and Giorgia Lauri, teach and support the children with cooking, baking and nutrition skills: the children source food, cook and eat healthy vegetarian meals together during each session, often joined by their parents.
“All of my favourite memories can all be associated with foods that I’ve shared with people I love or hate. Foods that remind me of home have to be lasagna and couscous because they are warm dishes that we as a family gather around the table to share and discuss all topics.”
The menu is always changing, with the aim to challenge the children to try new, interesting cooking techniques and less well known (always seasonal) vegetables. From spring rolls and tofu soup, to cauliflower-based pizza; from home-made buns and veggie patties to lemon tarts and chocolate truffle, Friday Night Out group travels the world while staying in the same old kitchen.
“My favourite food is a banana because it reminds me of my country Somalia. Food is health for our bodies, like our five a day eg carrots, apple, pear, banana”.
There were still raspberries to pick in the Story Garden well into November. And the children braved outdoor cooking deep into winter, making festive biscuits, before we switched back to online Zoom classes again throughout the most recent lockdown.
Funded by Islington Giving, Argent and Islington VCS, the programme extended during lockdown to offer additional online sessions to older residents and one-off bespoke cooking sessions to intergenerational groups, and is currently developing a greening/planting focus for the coming months.
During lockdown Global Generation offered a Friday Night In Project to older residents to learn how to cook dishes ranging from gyoza to potato kugels and lemon meringue pie. These “cookalongs” and “chatalongs” offered casual sessions, involving sharing ideas, cooking methods, recipes and stories. Young adults attending New Horizon Youth Centre engaged wtih the online intergenerational sessions too.