Armed with cookeries and good intentions, the NESFAS team comprising of Rahul Antao and Esther M Sawian on Saturday, the 26th of July 2014, took the scenic ride to the William Lewis Boys’ Home at Mawphlang to impart to some of the boy there with basic culinary skills.
The initiative was taken up after a visit to the Boy’s home by NESFAS Chairman Mr Phrang Roy, Board Member Ms Anita Roy, consultant Mr Rahul Antao and intern Kritika Suratkal where they discovered that the meals served to the boys needed much improvement in terms of flavour and nutrition. A plan was soon hatched to involve the boys in the cooking of their meals after providing them with some training. It is also hope that the training might help the boys should they look for a career in the food industry.
The session on Saturday was the first of the many bi-monthly sessions to follow. Eleven boys enthusiastically reached for knives and chopping boards and took in what the facilitators taught them. The menu that day strategically featured three types of salads not just to encourage the eating of raw vegetables but also to introduce to the boys the basics of washing and chopping vegetables. The cucumber-tomato salad, the radish-mustard oil salad and the peas-carrot-beet salad, all in creative dressings, were the stars of the cooking demonstration. “I never liked beet but I do now after tasting this peas-carrot-beet salad made in this workshop” said Kularskhem Nongspung, a participant. “I want to know more about how to make innovative changes in existing recipes to
make them better,” he added.
The facilitator, Esther M Sawian, an experienced cook and baker, was very happy with the kind of participation she saw. “I am looking forward to the upcoming sessions. I know this group is very keen on learning and I hope that these lessons will prove useful to them.”
Mr. Samuel Jyrwa, caretaker of the orphanage, expressed his solemn thanks, “I am so happy about this cooking class. In the orphanage we have cooks, assistants and we also have a routine for all the boys to take turns at the kitchen duty. So it is really great to have new ideas being taught to the kids that can be incorporated in their daily lives”. Deliberating on the prospect of knowledge sharing and the future of the boys in the orphanage, he said, “We are also very happy to have this opportunity because when the kids grow up they will leave the home and spread their knowledge, not only through the orphanage but also through NESFAS. This program has taught the boys that food can be both nutritious and tasty.”
The Orphanage, owned by the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Assembly, has two small kitchen gardens and one green house which supplement the boys’ meals with fresh vegetables. These vegetables are free from chemical insecticides and fertilizers. Instead, concoctions of bio-pesticides like pepper and ‘ghost’ chilli are used as sprays.
Saturday’s session had traversed more than just the initial stride; considering the home works assigned and the lessons retained. The second episode of this cooking class will be held this coming Saturday, while the boys will be engaged in preparing their assigned recipes.