The food and language social project has also announced autumn cookalongs

There’s a new must-own cookbook in the offing and before you softly mouth Ott-o-lenghi, this one is being self-published a little closer to home with a righteous cause to boot.

Heart & Parcel, a Manchester-based social project which provides English language provision for migrant women, is on the cusp of releasing its second cookbook following on from its popular self-published 2019 debut COOK EAT WRITE SHARE.

At the heart of everything, like most good things, is food.

The original cookbook, which all but sold out its original 1000 copy print run, was a barrier-smashing, eclectic mix of recipes and stories from around the world, channelling countries as far and wide as Ethiopa and Poland, Iraq and Tibet. 

The proceeds of the book went towards the running costs of the community project between 2019 and 2020 as well as supporting two major programmes helping 54 learners to develop their English skills in order to teach others their unique recipes.

The second cookbook, FROM HOME TO HOME (not to be mixed up with the difficult second album from prog rockers Kaleidoscope), will chronicle the previous two years of the social project’s work, taking in the recipes, stories and experiences of the women Heart & Parcel has worked with over the last two years. A crowdfunder has been set up for the project with donations of any size very much encouraged.

A Picture Of Imbattan By A Member Of The Heart And Parcel Team A Social Project In Manchester Which Helps Migrant Women To Learn English And Network
Imbattan, a traditional Libyan dish of fried potato stuffed with mince meat, made by one of the Heart & Parcel cooks

Food as education, food as inclusion

Founded in 2015, Heart & Parcel was set up by two friends in Levenshulme with a passion for food and community in the face of dramatic cuts to English language provision. As well as regular English classes, the organisation runs food-based fundraising events such as supper clubs, markets, online cookalongs and private workshops with the events providing a learning and networking platform for the people using the service to develop the skills they’ve learned.

The organisation’s work is deeply rooted in research surrounding ESOL (English speakers of other languages), English language provision, food studies, policy, migration and the power of arts-based practices. The group’s work is regularly presented at conferences, workshops and discussions in order to share the experience and insight that has been accrued along the way.

Clare Courtney, Managing Director of Heart & Parcel said:

“The Autumn cookalongs and the crowdfunder for the new cookbook have been a culmination of everyone’s hard work over recent years going online due to the pandemic. We’ve been working with a really large online community of English language learners, we’ve increased our learners from 30 face to face to 800 across the UK and we’ve met lots of different people and shared lots of amazing recipes from around the world whilst developing skills.”

“These (mostly) women that we’ve been working with, have given their stories, recipes and time to share with us and we want to pull them together into a book to share with the world. The cookalongs are also part of a training programme for English language learners to develop their skills in a practical and exciting way, with the public benefitting from the recipes and new cooking techniques and we’re really excited to share them with everybody.”

“The cookbook crowdfunder is really important for us because it will help us to fund our projects for the next couple of years, so we’re really looking to getting that off the ground and then we can begin creating the cookbook. Any support is given greatly appreciated.”

A Woman Wearing A Headscarf Teaches A Syrian Dumpling Cooking Class In Manchester With Levenshulme English Teaching Project Heart And Parcel
Heart & Parcel provides opportunities for learning and networking through food

At the heart of everything, like most good things, is food. Specifically dumplings in the case of Heart & Parcel. What began as English language and dumpling-making classes has since evolved into something much bigger.

A Heart Parcel Language Class In Manchester Helping Migrant Women To Learn English And Network But Also Beating Stereotypes Along The Way
Proceeds from the cookbook and cookalongs go towards English language teaching that inspires future work Rebecca Lupton

Cookalongs and cookbooks

As well as cookbooks, video cookalongs have also proven to be a popular and successful element of the programme, allowing people at home to cook an array of beloved global dishes whilst meeting new people in the process.

Following on from the popularity of last year’s sold out online sessions, Heart & Parcel have announced a new cookalong line-up for Autumn this year. The sessions, led by one of six learners from the organisation’s English language speaking programme, involve a step-by-step walkthrough of a dish close to the heart of the instructor with stories and experiences surrounding the dishes being shared along the way. 

All you have to do is follow along at home. If you're intrigued, there's a bountiful online archive of Heart & Parcel cooking lesson videos.

The ticketed cookalongs, which take place over Zoom, include a 1.5 hour cooking class with experienced and knowledgeable teachers and a small nine-person group, a detailed ingredient and equipment list as well as a donation to the programme in order to support future activities. Tickets are a mere £10 and dates range from Wednesday 20 October to Wednesday 5 January.

A great foodie treat for yourself or a gift for a loved one, if we do say so ourselves.

Donate to the Heart & Parcel crowdfunder. Details and booking options for the autumn cookalongs can be found on the Heart & Parcel website

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