Kirtling House staff and service users celebrate World Food Day by trying new cuisine

World Food Day was on Saturday 16 October 2021 and for that the staff and service users at Together’s Kirtling House Accommodation Service decided to celebrate by trying some new cuisine provided by one of the staff team. Sophie Ekambi-Kiye is a Recovery Worker at the service who is from Cameroon and for the day she offered to prepare some of the African dishes she had enjoyed in the past.

The service users at Kirtling House were keen to help create and try the dishes Sophie planned as the cuisine wasn’t something anyone had tried before. With the support and guidance of Sophie, everyone living at the service collectively prepared from scratch Jollof Rice, Puff Puff, Pumpkin Seed Curry, Dodo (fried plantains), White Sweet Potato and for dessert Papaya with Lemon Drizzle. All the service users and staff were excited to get involved and to prepare the food together. That involved peeling and preparing ginger and chopping and cooking plantain. Then making the dough and frying the Puff Puff were all new experiences for everyone present.

Everyone living and working at the service sat together to enjoy the meal and the feedback was amazing. People reported that they really enjoyed the food, and felt especially positive about trying entirely new foods, spices, textures and flavours that were so different to the foods they were used to. During the meal a really amazing and informative discussion was had about Africa, and particularly Cameroon. Sophie was happy to answer lots of questions about the county, culture and her experiences of growing up there providing great insight for all involved. Staff and service users felt the meal and the discussion was fitting in Black History Month as we know the key to breaking down stigma and discrimination comes from education and awareness.

Everyone living at Kirtling thought the day was a really good way of bringing the house together to experience something new and exciting – and of course tasty! Several of the people who live at the service have asked since for an African Food Day once a month which feels like a resounding thumbs up! The initial plan for next time is to begin to incorporate traditional music, dress and language from Cameroon too.