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Men cooking up a storm in the shed

The Community Kitchens cooking group at Langwarrin Men’s Shed. Pictured: Back row Gary, Pat, Graeme, Ian. Front row Dianne, Rod, Maddy.

Six men at the Langwarrin Men’s Shed are sharpening their culinary skills, participating in a weekly cooking group supported by Peninsula Health’s Community Kitchens Program.

“People usually see cooking as a women’s activity,” said Peninsula Health Community Kitchens Project Officer Maddy Tatham.

“However the men are really enjoying it and we are looking at expanding the program into more Men’s Sheds.”

When 74-year-old Graeme Lawson retired three years ago, he spent the first year doing things around the house, before joining the Langwarrin Men’s Shed and then the cooking group. 

“The best thing about the cooking group is the camaraderie,” said Graeme.

“We pick a different recipe to cook each week, prepare it and then sit down to enjoy a meal together.”

With the assistance of volunteer Dianne, the men cook a recipe from the Community Kitchens Cookbook or one someone has bought from home.

A lot of the recipes are designed for one or two people, perfect for some of the men who live alone.  

“Some of the guys live alone and the cooking group teaches them how to eat healthier as they learn how to cook easy meals themselves,” said Graeme.

“I have been married 52 years and my wife does most of the cooking, but when she’s out now I can cook something at home myself rather than buying a pie!”

This week the men made rice paper rolls, followed by a gluten-free lemon and blueberry cake.

According to Graeme, some of the best recipes from the Community Kitchen’s Cookbook are Garry’s Egg Pie and the Chow Mein.

It has been more than ten years since the first Community Kitchen group started up in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula region. There are currently 28 Community Kitchen Groups running in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula area and 55 nationally.

If you’d like to try some of the Community Kitchen recipes yourself, the recipe book is available online.

Graeme chopping vegetables as part of the Community Kitchens cooking group at Langwarrin Men’s Shed.