Dalston People’s Kitchen meet, cook and eat every other Saturday. They use a space within a youth centre in Hackney, where a large hall is filled with boxes of kitchenware, crates of food, and enough tables and chairs for as many people as interested. Individuals can come along as they please, helping with the chopping, cooking, washing and eating. The general feel seemed very open to whatever time or energy you could offer the meal.
All the food was collected from stores.. of course all being surplus. We collectively made loads of different dishes, from fruity cakes and herby flat breads to curries, dahl, salads and stuffed peppers. A very delicious feast!
There was quite an emphasis on sharing skills at this People’s Kitchen. I guess because of the location, there were lots of young people around. Groups of teenagers that were hanging out in the centre were welcome to get involved if they wanted, and did do. Younger children had to be accompanied by someone older, but were just as welcome. It was the first community cook that I had working alongside that many children, which I very much enjoyed! Skills were quite organically shared across the tables, with a back and fourth dialogue of ideas from different levels of experience. It really appeared that some of the kids felt quite energised and empowered to be part of preparing the dishes. A really nice thing to offer the neighbourhood at weekends.
This People’s Kitchen group actually just received some funding to run cookery workshops for children on the alternate weekend to the usual feast. They have already started this, which seems a really positive endeavour for the local community.