As we have passed into our 3rd year running Heart & Parcel, we find ourselves looking back fondly at the work we have done, the women we have met and the hundreds of dumplings we have made (and eaten).
Over the years it has been really exciting to see that we have inspired so many others to create and set up their own ventures with cooking, dumplings or creative ESOL. In the past, we have had requests for how to embed English into cooking and how to set up a supperclub, which we have responded to by writing blogs and giving sample lesson plans here and here.
This week for our creative ESOL & Cooking class at Levenshulme Old Library, our student and dear friend Hanane kindly showed us how to make the delicious Messamen (مسمن), a traditional pancake-like bread stuffed with meat, vegetables and aromatic herbs. Hanane informed us that this bread is usually eaten in the morning or in the afternoon with guests, but always has to be served with Moroccan tea or coffee. That’s a requirement! We would love to share the recipe with you as it is so easy, so versatile yet looks impressive once it is cooked!
When we do our private workshops we know our structure very well. We come in, make our coffees, set up the space. We unpack our ingredients, get out pots, pans and rollers, attach our badges to the aprons, place the water on the stove to boil and await the arrival of our participants. These actions are satisfyingly familiar to us. However, the shape of the sessions as a result of the characters that enter the room is the surprise. What each participant brings remains the most exhilarating part of Heart & Parcel.
We thought we would share this lesson plan we have used about three times now with different groups. This is an all round lesson we have created that covers many skills. It works very well with group work and building conversation. More specifically for literacy and numeracy, this lesson familiarises learners with nouns, adjectives, verbs, spelling, quantities and process adverbs. For well-being purposes, it gets participants chatting, working together to create something, and the cookies are pretty delicious for open conversation at the end.
- Handout #1 1 per participant
- Handout #2 (cut up into strips) 1 per group of 2 – 4
- Ingredients – listed below (in addition – desiccated coconut, oats, sultanas, milk white & dark chocolate, cinnamon and any other ingredients you think might go well in cookies)
- Equipment – listed below
A blog from a woman who came to our workshop a couple of weeks ago, met the women we work with and tried some of their delicious dishes. Thank you so much for writing about us and we hope to connect with you soon!
Last week I had the chance to briefly meet Heart and Parcel at one of their regular workshops, this time at Inspire in Levenshulme. Heart and Parcel are another brilliant example of a project that mobilises the strengths and knowledge of people, and empowers its participants, building confidence and skills, experimenting with new ideas…Heart and Parcel bring women together, making dumplings, developing ESOL skills. Their work is funded through the dumpling supper clubs and market stalls they run.
Apparently dumplings appear in almost every culture, differing in shape and filling. As Heart and Parcel say, the filling inside dumplings represents the hidden resources and skills that women from migrant communities living in Britain today possess that lie untapped and unused. Heart and Parcel bring women from different cultures together, using English language as the medium. This new approach to ESOL allows women to develop their skills and realise their potential…
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Last week brought us to the close of our intimate supper clubs showcasing our dumplings that we have been making with women from migrant communities over the last seven months.
For those that are unfamiliar with our project, we ran monthly supper clubs from March – June alternating between Polish and Chinese themed nights. At these evenings we showcased dumplings we had been making with the women at our sessions, using the process as a starting point for exploring further recipes and experiences from the women’s own backgrounds – oh, and practising English too.
These were pilot supper clubs with the ultimate aim to equip ourselves with the necessary skills needed to ‘blaze the trail’ for the women we work with to start their own supper clubs and workshops. **UPDATE** Sure enough, they certainly have reached their goals and beyond! Read about one such success story in the form of a food blogger review of our Bangladeshi supper club, where three of our ladies cooked and hosted for 50 guests with no prior ‘formal’ experience of cooking.
Throughout the four months we have had 29 interesting and generous people join us at the table to get involved in our project and sample the dumpling recipes we created and developed. The money from the tickets went back into our sessions with the women, room hire, buying ingredients and creating English language resources for the sessions.
Who is this post for? Continue reading “Eight Supper Club Reflections”
Just reading back on this again. This message is really important. We feel we need to shout this from the roof tops; to tell as many people as possible about this.
There are many important issues surrounding our project; their influence indirectly becoming the drive behind Heart & Parcel. Having worked as an English teacher with migrant communities and Karolina working as an advice support worker, I feel the need to discuss the political messages that surround these communities and ESOL, both previously and currently in Britain. I hope this post may shed light as to why increasing numbers of people who, like us work in the third sector and specifically with migrant communities in Britain, are setting up social projects like Heart & Parcel all around the country, and why they are so important in the current political climate.
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