The cookery inspiration during lockdown

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor

The week of March 16-20 was very unusual this year, somewhat eerie, as the whole world plunged into an unprecedented uncertainty.

Panic was widespread as Coronavirus tightened its grip on the world. We didn't think that word would still continue to dominate the conversation today.

But, despite all the sadness and uncertainty of the pandemic, good things have come out of a bad situation. Shortly after the lockdown period began, two members of Merched y Wawr, Angharad Fflur and Gwerfyl Eidda, set up the Curo’r Corona’n Coginio Facebook page to encourage people to share their recipes and tips. Within a few weeks, 15,000 members had joined the group, creating a friendly community that extends right across the world.

I was one of those 15,000, eagerly looking forward to seeing what different and easy meals other people were preparing.

Nobody in our house goes hungry, I can cook the essentials! But I'm the first to admit that I'm no cook! But seeing the colourful home-cooked meals was inspirational. But most importantly, the ingredients were more or less in everyone’s cupboards at a time when shopping was not an easy task.

Although the world has begun to regain some form of 'normality', this is not the end of the Facebook page’s story. It was decided to produce a recipe book, supported by Hybu Cig Cymru and Cywain, to present only a small selection of the page’s content, celebrating the creativity of Welsh kitchens and placing the emphasis on using great Welsh produce in the kitchen.

As well as recipes, the book contains a selection of pictures of the wonderful celebration cakes that appeared on the page, and pictures of children cooking while they were home from school - another boost to get the younger generation interested in cooking and encouraging them to prepare a meal from scratch.

But it's more than a recipe book. It’s a symbol of a community coming together during difficult times, an inspiration for many. Many asked for advice and many asked interesting questions. Numerous comments have been made that the page helped individuals' mental health during the lockdown period, giving them something to focus on, on a daily basis.

As the recipe book starts arriving at kitchens across Wales, Tegwen Morris, National Director of Merched y Wawr, said: “A big thank you to everyone who has and still contributes to the Curo’r Corona’n Coginio page. Thank you to everyone who now buys the book, it is a wonderful and positive reminder of a difficult and challenging time in the lives of many. Working with Cywain and Hybu Cig Cymru was a privilege and I hope everyone will enjoy using great quality local produce and continue to add to the buzz of the page.”

Congratulations to Merched y Wawr, and to everyone involved, from the Facebook page to the full colour, 150 page spiral bound book which ensures that it stays open on the kitchen table - it is proof that a positive can be found in every difficulty.

Curo’r Corona’n Coginio is now available in bookshops across Wales, through the press’s website and the Books Council’s website for £10.00, with the profit generated from book sales going to the Merched y Wawr charity, to support their work across Wales.