I recently visited the kitchen of a wonderful service called Community Catering from COPE Galway. This is the new name of what used to be the service known as ‘Meals on Wheels’. COPE Galway Community Catering provides daily nutritional support for Galway city's older people. While the service is primarily for older people it is not exclusively so. They also provide meals to anyone who, through disability or injury, is unable to prepare a hot meal for themselves.
Whatever preconceptions I may have had before I visited their kitchen were blown away immediately by Geraldine Ryan, the executive chef, and the spotless commercial kitchen that they use six days a week. As I arrived mid morning the place was very busy with volunteers arriving to collect their quota of meals to be delivered. There were also volunteers preparing the food all around the prep areas in the kitchen. They are all very proud of their operation and rightly so, as the recently awarded Excellence Ireland Quality Association certificate confirms that their entire process, from receiving ingredients all the way to recording the temperature of the meal just as it is delivered, meets the highest standards in the land. In fact they were the first in Ireland to achieve the award, and they achieved it at the highest possible standard which is called emerald and means they had a 75 per cent-plus achievement in each category. If that does not guarantee you a nice dinner nothing will.
The aim of Community Catering is that no one should go hungry or eat meals that are without nourishment, and my purpose in writing this article is to create the widest possible awareness in people throughout the city and county. For whatever reason, people are sometimes reluctant to engage with an organisation like this, and that needs to change. If you are unable to cook for yourself or your companion, then for €5 per day per two course meal you can eat as good as in any restaurant and have it delivered to your door. If you are not up to cooking, why would you not engage with this great service? It is very, very good and it can make your life much easier. Call (091 ) 700800 before 10am any day and you can have a meal delivered that day, providing you live in the Galway Community Catering area, ie, Galway city, Salthill, Claregalway, Oranmore, and Maree. This is not a charity, it is a service, it is a lifestyle choice, meaning you decide it would be nice to have dinner delivered, just the same as if you asked a local restaurant to deliver a dinner for you.
If you have parents or loved ones that you think would benefit from having a well made, tasty, and very importantly, a nourishing meal delivered, why not call Community Catering and have a chat. You can arrange to pay yourself if that might work better, I mentioned the importance of nourishment and that was emphasised during my discussion. Some people who cannot be bothered cooking a full hot meal make sandwiches or something similar most of the time. If they then have to go to hospital for some reason, then their whole recovery is impaired due to being malnourished. As you can probably see in the pictures, these meals are well balanced. I brought two dishes home to try later and they were just excellent; Irish stew with potatoes, and bacon with cabbage, turnip, and mashed potato. They can be reheated in a microwave in four minutes, and the special plastic covering which has micro perforating in it means there is no dangerous whoosh of scalding steam, or it can be heated in a regular oven for 15/20 minutes. The potato mash was among the best I have had and the Irish stew as good as my mother’s even down to the pearl barley that I love. The meal also includes dessert, and the fresh fruit salad I saw being prepared was mouthwatering.
The menu changes every day, and while it always takes into account any special requirements and needs/dislikes, it will be a surprise each day. They have loads of capacity to deliver more meals so do not be shy, call Community Catering on (091 ) 700800 if you have any inkling of interest or just want some information. Finally, it is worth noting that you can turn on and off the service to you as you want. For example, if you are just out of hospital and want a meal each day for two or three weeks, or you just want a meal two or three days in the week, no problem.
If you would like to volunteer to be a driver or work in the kitchen, call any time and you will receive a warm welcome. If by any chance you have any of the following commercial kitchen equipment that you could donate you would make Geraldine a very happy chef. Some of the items that are of interest are heavy duty food mixer, Robot Coupe, Portable burco boiler (10 litre ), juicer, gastronome dishes, stacking cups 8fl oz and saucers, insulated boxes for meal transportation, and a soup kettle. All types of food donations are also accepted from private individuals, commercial food production companies, or from a food driver in your office or community.
Galway’s Best Awards 2010
On a different note, I would like to let everyone know that a new awards scheme has been launched to find Galway’s best in many categories — Best Café, Best Fashion Retailer, Best Festival/Event, Best Hotel, Best Pub, Best Restaurant, and the Best of Galway’s Best, the ultimate accolade for the business that receives the highest number of votes overall throughout the campaign.
The awards will cover the city and county and voting will be by the public, on the website from June 3 until August 31. The cut off for entry by businesses is May 24. Entry is free and voting thereafter is free. It would seem to me to be a no-brainer for any business to enter, no strings attached, and it will put your business name up there in front of all who will vote.
This initiative is supported by Fáilte Ireland, the Galway Chamber of Commerce, and Maeve Berry Public Relations. Visit www.galwaysbestawards.com or call Paula Feeney on (091 ) 565976, or email [email protected] for more information.
You can also return your completed entry form to [email protected] or by post to Paula Feeney, Galway’s Best Awards, c/o Central Park Group, 36 Upper Abbeygate Street, Galway.
Thank you for your comments from last week, and please continue to email me on [email protected]