Many of us have our special family recipe handed down from our parents or grandparents. Now, families in Peterborough are being invited to contribute their own family favourite in a competition being run by the National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough and City College Peterborough.
The winning recipes from around the world will be published in the Peterborough Family Cookbook. Alongside the ingredients and preparation method, the competition also asks children to share stories on why the recipe is special for them.
The manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough, Sally Atkinson, said: “Cooking and sharing meals together as a family can offer lots of opportunities for developing children’s literacy skills. Children can get involved by helping to write shopping lists, reading out recipes and preparing ingredients – all activities which spark conversations.
“Our research has shown that children who talk regularly at mealtimes become more confident communicators. However, one in four children don’t have daily mealtime chats and almost a third spend more time online or watching TV than talking to their family.
“We want to create a cookbook which celebrates family mealtimes and Peterborough’s wonderful cultural diversity with recipes from around the world. I can’t wait to read all the stories which have emerged from the making and sharing of meals together.”
Ice hockey team the Peterborough Phantoms are contributing their own favourite recipes. The captain of the Phantoms and Head of Year 7 at Peterborough Academy, James Ferrara, who has an 18-month-old daughter called Isabelle, has shared the recipe for his ‘Pre-game Pasta’.
He said: “Isabelle enjoys watching me cook and hearing me talk about what I am doing. I chat about each stage – for example, what I am chopping, frying or grating and I describe what the ingredients look and smell like.
“My ‘Pre-Game Pasta’ is a great, healthy meal to eat in preparation for an ice-hockey match and it’s enjoyed by all of my family too on cold winter nights before they come to watch me play.
“Family meals are important times for me and my partner to catch-up. Isabelle is too young to read or write but she is just starting to chatter and communicate, so it’s a great opportunity for us all to connect as a family. I’m looking forward to when we can include her more in our conversations and hearing her share stories about her day.
“I think the Peterborough Family Cookbook is a great way of celebrating the importance of spending quality time together as a family, which is so important for a child’s learning.”
Pat Carrington, principal of City College Peterborough, which is also supporting the initiative, says that the college has had great success by linking the development of literacy to healthy eating.
Pat said: “We all like to indulge sometimes but we know that healthy, home-made food is better for us, can taste delicious and cost less than pre-prepared food like takeaways.
“Some of our most popular family learning programmes are those where families cook a tasty, healthy recipe and enjoy the dish together, reinforcing family ties and building children’s communication and social skills.
“We hope that lots of families will have a go at the competition and tell us about their favourite recipes and the stories behind them.”
How to enter
You can email your recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Jo Franks, National Literacy Trust, 68 South Lambeth Rd, SW8 1RL by Wednesday, September 7.
Alternatively, pick up an entry form in the Pop-up Peterborough Literacy Hub, at 33-35 Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1 HH. and open from Tuesdays to Saturdays between July 26 and August 31 between 10am and 3pm. Please post the form into the ‘Cooking Pot’ in the Hub by Wednesday August 31.