The Great Malvern Food Festival, Monday 26th May, 2014

Student Project: “Family Sustainable Cookbook” & Associated Food Demo

Frugal & Local Food Demo

Graphic Design students on the yr 3 Children’s Book Design module were present today at the Great Malvern Food Festival in Malvern Priory’s historic churchyard. They were there as they’ve been busy on a working prototype design project for a “Family Sustainable Cookbook” over the last semester on the module. The recipe book project was developed by Senior Lecturer in Design Andy Stevenson in partnership with a number of local organisations including: the Duckworth Trust/ Pumphouse Environment Centre, Malvern Hills Food Alliance, WildfoodUK and ‘Local Food Lunches’ – all of whom kindly supplied recipes. The latter is Andy’s own project outside of his teaching role for seeking-out and helping to promote local producers and is presently a growing community on Facebook and social media.

Student working prototype cookbook designs

Outputs from the project have just had their first airing with the release of a free, trimmed-down .pdf ‘sampler’ of a set of student-designed page spreads and recipes. The aim of the book in it’s full form would be to help educate children 8yrs and upwards and families with young children about issues close to Andy’s heart such as: ‘the sustainability of produce’, the benefits of local and regional foods, ‘food miles’ and the seasonality of produce to name but some. It also aims to provide achievable and tasty recipes that try to encapsulate some of the good practices discussed in the book.

Sustainability in the curriculum

Andy normally runs sessions focusing on areas such as sustainable packaging design, but today he gave his first ever ‘live’ cooking demo in a 100-seater marquee at the town’s food festival. The recipe he cooked on this occasion is included in the students’ cookbook sampler: “Easy, Peasy Broccoli Gratin” which he then went on to both demonstrate and explain to the audience.

Andy adds: “I must admit that I’m more than happy talking about my normal design disciplines, but I found talking while cooking-up a dish to a specific timing in front of an audience was a whole different ball game.. Despite my initial reservations, it was a great event though and I had some fantastic recipe spreads to work to from some of the talented design students involved.”

Katy Boom Director of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Worcester was watching the demonstration with her daughter and both felt inspired to try the recipe.  Katy loved the idea of using smoked pilchards replacing anchovies and using the technique to reduce them to a paste. Definitely a new staple in the Boom household. Whilst the cookbook has been designed to attract young children to learn to cook the simplicity of the recipes make them ideal for students, as well as their affordability.

Evolved further in the future

The existing free sampler .pdf recipe book will now be evolved further over the summer period. It’ll also soon be passed-out the the various local and regional partners to the project so they can distribute freely too. There’s already been discussions of other linked cooking demos that both Andy – and potentially some of the students involved may undertake.

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