When we first went into lock down I was furloughed, and decided that it would be good to do something with my time that would give something back to the community. I have always been a complete foodie, and I find cooking therapeutic.
When we first went into lock down I was furloughed, and decided that it would be good to use some of my time to give something back to the community. I have always been a complete foodie, and I find cooking therapeutic - so I wrote cards and put them through all the doors in my street, offering to donate home-cooked portions of vegetable soup, delivered to the doorsteps of people who may not be have the help or the nutrition that they needed.
I got various lovely messages back from people, saying that whilst they weren’t in need this was a really good idea and what a lovely thing to do for the community. Then there was one lady who replied, saying that this really could be a lifeline for her. She was not at all well - not with the virus, but with various health issues.
So I gave her a bunch of soups and a couple of weeks later she told me that she would like to commission me to make her ten portions per week. That soon turned into twenty, with her basically living off my soup and feeling healthier, having more energy, and so her pain medication was reduced. It was so rewarding! By this point, I had put a couple of messages out on neighbourly whatsapp groups, put more cards through other local streets' letterboxes, and people started to reply to me saying that they would like to try my soups. Interestingly, none of these customers were suffering from the virus, or were elderly, or were sick from other illness - they just seemed to love the idea of nutritious and healthy veg soup and the convenience of having it delivered to them freshly made.
By this point, I wondered if a little list of options may help formalise things, so I put together a weekly short menu of five recipes every Friday, to see if people would be encouraged to pre-order. They did - and so this became a routine: post the menu Friday morning, take requests that day, cook on Saturday to fulfil those orders and deliver on Sunday mornings.
And so Lucy’s Ladle was born: one of my cousins came up with the name, another two cousins designed the logo. I took an online course in nutrition to help spur more ideas, and then trademarked the name in order to set up social media accounts for Lucy’s Ladle. Word started to spread about the menus and the (slightly alternative) recipes that I was putting together, and the feedback I was getting from new customers was more than I would have imagined. People really were enthusiastic, and the support just brilliant!
I feel like I have built up a community of soup-lovers, somehow... and made new friends along the way too! Many customers are mothers who have been juggling home-schooling, cleaning, cooking and everything else - and the soups have just helped them with lunch or as a basis for pasta sauces, pizza toppings, the kids’ dinners in general. Other customers are couples who have of course been working from home, and who look like they will continue to do so for some time but are already telling me that they will take my soups to their offices when they do go back. And then there are of course those customers who are having to self-isolate, or look after friends and relatives who need the support of nourishing food for themselves and their families.
As of September I moved things up a gear, by starting a monthly menu of stews, casseroles and hotpots for Autumn/Winter - again, all vegetarian, in fact vegan - making sure that I continue to help people eat well. These are extremely popular, and so are now cooked twice per month to try to fulfil demand!
I am now nine months down the line and am busier than ever - and back to working my other job too, although just a few days per month from now on given the situation these days. Having found Lucy's Ladle has been quite life changing, yet in such a positive way. I never would have imagined it happening a year ago..... long may it continue!