As an extension of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 the UCO is shining a spotlight on the importance of good mental health throughout the month of May. As part of this we're inviting our staff, students and others in the UCO community to share the ways they support and manage their own mental health.
Today UCO Clinic Coordinator Jeremy tells us about cooking up a storm in his kitchen:
"I tried many things in lockdown. I took up latch hook that I enjoyed as a child. If you do not know what that is, then you are far too young and you did not grow up in the States. I also attempted to train my cat to walk on a lead. I do not recommend this. Really. I cannot stress this one enough.
In the end I surprised myself by discovering that I can cook like a celebrity Indian chef. As the queues for my local Sainsbury’s began to remind me of the lines for the toilets at Glastonbury, I discovered the joys of ordering food online. Need cereal? Delivered within the hour! Need oranges? Be there this evening by 5pm. Need toilet paper. Um. (Let us not go there).
My flatmate has a cookbook called '50 Great curries of India’ by Camellia Panjabi. After another unsuccessful hour of attempting to walk the cat around the block, I picked this book up and found myself ordering potatoes, masala powder, cumin, red chilies, paprika, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves and other spices that I had never really paid much attention to.
Two hours later I had before me... a huge mess! It was supposed to have been a Meat Curry with Cumin-Flavoured Potatoes but to be honest, it looked like it had been dropped on the floor and reheated.
But I was determined and decided to work my way through the 50 recipes in the book. I found that focusing on following a recipe helped me switch off and all my worries and concerns about lockdown would just melt away (alongside the tamarind pulp).
Eight months later I had worked my way through the 50 recipes in this cookbook and my flatmate and neighbours were so tired of eating Indian food that they would run away when they spotted another Amazon van full of yellow moong dal, cilantro leaves desiccated coconut.
But I’ve got to say, that I’m good and am always half expecting a call from James Martin to appear on Saturday Kitchen Live. I am sure that it will happen. Absolutely sure of it.
In the meantime, the cat is happy that I’ve found another focus and he and I are once again, best friends."