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Cooking course infuses confidence
By CATE BROUGHTON
Brian Pearce demonstrates his
new-found prowess in the
kitchen after completing a
Senior Chef course.
IN HIS 82nd year, Woodend man
Brian Pearce has finally joined his
wife and two daughters in their
love for, and ability in, cooking.
Surrounded by exemplary chefs
in his own home -- particularly
wife Kay -- Mr Pearce said in the
past he didn't have any need to
overcome a lack of confidence in
Why would I when I've got a
good cook like my wife?''
Apart from a part-time one year
cooking course completed in the
early 1960s as part of his admin-
istrative role at the Hotels and
Catering Commission in Britain,
he says he has had very little
experience in the kitchen.
I wouldn't have been able to
cook a full meal.''
However, with Mrs Pearce find-
ing it increasingly difficult to whip
up an evening meal due to
deteriorating health, Mr Pearce
decided to take up the challenge of
learning to cook.
A free eight-week course in
Rangiora aimed at senior citizens
has given him a new love for cook-
ing and confidence in his own culi-
I can't tell you how much I'm
cooking and confidence to cook a
whole meal,'' Mr Pearce said.
Senior Chef is jointly funded by
the Ministry of Health and Rural
Canterbury Primary Health
Organisation, and caters for those
who have limited cooking skills or
have lost confidence in cooking.
Canterbury District Health
Board nutritionist Katy Keogh
said research into the prevalence
of nutrition risk among older
adults in Christchurch indicated
that three in 10 were at high risk
of poor nutrition.
Though well looked after at the
moment with meals made by his
wife and two daughters, Mr
Pearce said he would be able to
fend for himself if he needed to.
I feel if Kay suddenly fell down
with a broken leg she could go to
hospital and I could cook myself a
perfectly good meal.''
Cooking his first meal on the
course was thrilling, he said.
Firstly, I felt elated because I
had branched out into a new ven-
ture and secondly, I had a good
time doing it.''
Mr Pearce highly recommended
the course to any elderly person
who wanted to learn -- particu-
I do think more men should go
because how often do you find the
man cooking in the marital
You don't -- it's always the
Contact the Senior Chef co-
ordinator on 337 7781 or
seniorchef.co.nz for more details or
to find out about enrolling in a
course in your area. There is a
guests to food
not tummy bug
SUMMER IS barbecue time, but
don't run the risk of poisoning family
and friends, warns University of
Canterbury food safety expert
Professor Ian Shaw.
We come together around the hot-
plate for cheer and companionship --
A little bit of forethought can
really reduce the risk of a gippy
tummy -- or worse -- this summer,''
Our meat is often contaminated
with bacteria originating from ani-
These are killed by cooking, but if
meat is not cooked properly, the bac-
teria might survive and cause gastric
He said the two most common cul-
prits are campylobacter and E coli.
Campylobacter occurs particu-
larly on chicken. It is very easily kil-
led by freezing and by cooking,
because it is a fickle organism that
can't stand extremes of temperature
from infected chicken to other food is
very easy. If you handle raw chicken
and then handle food that you will
eat raw, such as salad, you might
transfer campylobacter to the salad.''
He advises that you wash your
hands well with warm, soapy water
after handling uncooked chicken.
Also, if you pick up a piece of raw
chicken with barbecue tongs, then
cook the chicken on the barbie, the
heat of the barbecue will kill the
campylobacter on the chicken, but it
might still be lurking on the tongs.
This means that when you serve the
chicken with the same tongs, you
might re-infect the meat with
I always balance my barbecue
tongs above the heat of the barbecue
to make sure I've killed the campy-
E coli is a bacterium that is nat-
urally present in human and animal
intestines, but the virulent strain
0157 makes a potent toxin that cau-
Red meat poses the greatest risk,
Professor Shaw said.
It is present only on the outside of
the meat, getting there by contami-
nation during the slaughter process.
E coli is also killed by cooking.
However, if you mince meat -- such
as beef for patties -- what had been
the outside of the meat might end up
on the inside of the burger and if the
temperature during cooking doesn't
reach 70 degrees, the E coli will sur-
vive to infect its consumer. If the
inside of your patty is pink, it hasn't
got hot enough.''
Amenity engages user attention
LOOS FLASH: The new toilet block at The Pines Oval.
WHILE THERE is nothing particularly glamorous
about most toilets, the new facility at The Pines
Oval is as close to beautiful as a toilet block can
get and is an important feature in the area for
After the original toilet block was irreparably
damaged in the earthquakes, a total rebuild of the
facility was required.
The new block contains two unisex and disabled
toilets, and is painted in neutral colours with
wooden linear panel cladding to complement the
A concrete path for easy access for the disabled
is still under construction and will be finished
later this month.
The rebuild of the facility, which was paid for by
insurance, is cleaned under the Waimakariri Dis-
trict Council's grounds maintenance contract, .
The toilet block opens at 6am and closes at 9pm
daily, using an electronic door operating system.
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