Italian mothers are helping British university students learn how to cook this autumn after a study showed 78% can’t boil an egg, and half struggle to make mashed potato and cook rice.
The study was carried out by Italian pesto pioneer Sacla’. In an attempt to change the way students eat for the better and debunk the myths they have about healthy eating, Sacla’ has teamed up with Italian mothers in five university cities for the Sacla’ Student Cookery School initiative. Over the course of October, the women are opening up their homes to students in need of some Italian instruction and inspiration.
In London, Bristol, Manchester, Swansea and Glasgow, the women are guiding groups of students in the creation of healthy, delicious and cheap recipes that will see them through Freshers Week and beyond. Working to an overall student friendly budget of £20 a week, which was identified by the research as the average amount students have to spend, the undergraduates are being shown how to make everything from a one-pot meal for friends, a brain-boosting revision lunch and a post-pub snack to help ward off their hangovers.
The students are being taught how to get the most out of cheap, fresh, and easy to get ingredients and store cupboard staples – all treated with love, passion and Italian flair. The mothers have been prepared for their classes by Tom Parker-Bowles, who offered guidance, hints and tips.
Parker-Bowles said: “This is a fantastic initiative from Sacla’ – it’s clear from their research that students are ill prepared when it comes to cooking healthy, nutritious meals at a time when they need all the help they can get from what they eat. I have a lot of admiration for the mammas involved and look forward to seeing how they all get on.”
Also involved in preparing the mothers is food consultant Lorna Wing, who held a training day to bring them up to speed on how to hold the classes. Clare Blampied, managing director of Sacla’, said: “Helping to keep students nourished and healthy during their time at university can be simple. We understand that being away from home for the first time is difficult for students and have come up with this plan to show students how easy it is to cook great tasting Italian inspired meals quickly and on a budget. The five Italian mammas are great and we’re so pleased to have them on board. Hopefully the recipes taught to the students will be passed on to their friends and family members following this activity.”
Among the Italian women aiding the students is Cristina Orlando from Bristol. She was born and brought up in Florence, and splits her time between the two cities. Orlando is passionate about cooking and often does so with her 17-year-old daughter. Another mother to step forward is Mary Sherwood. Born in London to Sicilian parents, she enjoys nothing more than cooking for her family. Sherwood has always dreamed of sharing her knowledge and passion for Italian home cooking with others, and is thrilled to finally have the chance to do so.
Sacla’ stands for the Societa’ Anonima Commercio Lavorazione Alimentari. Founded in 1939, the company is still owned and run by the third generation of the same Italian family who continue to create food made in Italy.
Sacla' Student Cookery School - "Italian Mammas Training Day" - watch the video: