Big thank you from

Wendy Donaldson

Wendy DonaldsonWENDY Donaldson, a trained Home Economist works as a cookery demonstrator for the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) which is based in Lisburn. The mother of three grown up children lives with her husband Colin in Upper Ballinderry. She has worked for LMC for six years and prior to this she ran a coffee shop and outside catering firm.

I get in touch with the different schools and arrange dates for me to come along and do the demonstrations. Before each school visit I have to decide what I will be making and then I make a shopping list and go and buy the relevant ingredients. All of the demonstrations will be linked to what the students are learning.

LMC also runs a Food 4 Life website which is an interactive, internet-based resource designed to support teaching of nutrition and food safety elements of the Northern Ireland Home Economics Curriculum for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 pupils. LMC have worked closely with CCEA to ensure that the content on its website is closely linked to what is being taught. This website provides a good means of reinforcing previous classroom activities and learning. The website uses a range of resources including video, interactive games, downloadable documents, and recipes which we hope pupils, teachers and parents find useful.

I arrive at the school, set up and then start the demonstration which is usually to around 30 pupils. I begin by discussing what I will be preparing and will talk about the importance of buying Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef and lamb and I will discuss what LMC does. I normally cook two dishes usually one will be mince and the other will contain another cut of beef or lamb. As we cook beef and lamb recipes I talk about the cuts available and the different ways of preparing them. I give tips about planning, timing, and basically practical information to help produce a good tasty meal. The next stage is to talk about the nutritional content of the meal - and how beef and lamb can benefit rapidly growing young people. It is important that both males and females get plenty of iron as male anemia is increasing due to our ever changing diets. Hopefully by this point the dishes will be prepared and this is the part that the students usually enjoy most - getting to sample the food. The great thing about LMC recipes is that they are all tried and tested and simple to make. Once somebody makes a successful dish it gives them confidence and makes them feel good about themselves. The recipes are easily followed and well balanced.

At the end of the demonstration there will be a recap of all the information imparted and I
will evaluate the session. All the students will be given the LMC recipe book, an information leaflet on the Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance Scheme and information about the LMC's nutritional website When I return home I supply LMC headquarters with a report on how the cookery demonstration went.

I really enjoy my job. It feels very worthwhile. I do think n is incredibly important that people know where their food has come from and have knowledge of the great work that Northern Ireland farmers do in producing Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef and lamb.

It is invaluable that people support local farmers and I think the LMC cookery demonstrations are a great way to get these messages across.

Ulster Star