By Jane Penner
I was serving breakfast at the Mitchell and Arena Senior Centre when two young Korean people entered our building and requested where they could order breakfast. They were very polite, friendly and generally interested in our welfare as senior citizens.
Olivia and Wonjae introduced us to their ideas about getting seniors together to learn and visit with each other. They explained about how to cook with a demonstration first, then others’ participation to also cook and learn. Some of the Asian and Filipino foods were totally foreign to us. We tried many different dishes of food and learned of different nationalities.
Learning & Sharing
The Korean couple would travel all the way from Winnipeg each Tuesday morning to have breakfast with us. We would talk, gain respect from each other, while sharing and learning new things and different places.
The Diversity Times magazine was left behind for us all to read. The spontaneous love Olivia and Wonjae portrayed to us seniors was genuine. The enthusiasm of their project was rubbing off on us. We were pleased there would be no cost involved and we would receive money to go shopping for supplies for the day we demonstrated our recipe.
My Special Recipe
We were to meet once a month for six months and then have a Christmas party for all at the completion of the project.
I found myself looking forward to the dates on the calendar as the time drew near for our meetings. I was first to present and somewhat nervous. I decided on a family recipe from Nova Scotia. It would be exciting to teach and share with people who came from halfway around the world.
It was an uplifting experience, as I watched others prepare my recipe from Nova Scotia. There were many queries about how to prepare the foods (i.e. muscles fish) to make the seafood chowder.
I realized we all try to eat well, healthy and it is so interesting to learn about many different vegetables, and learning to eat a rice dish on a banana skin instead of a plate. It was fun making spring rolls and different soups.
We were presented with a journal book, and a bil-like apron with a large pocket. This has been a memory I will remember and I feel I have grown as a person and become more broad-minded about other nationalities, realizing how much we are all alike and wanting to be recognized, wanting to be loved and needed by our families and others. This experience of meeting new friends, trying out new and different recipes, and different tastes has been a very positive time for me.
I want to thank Olivia and Wonjae, the Diversity Times and the federal government and sponsors (for example, one Korean company, CoBees gave an apron, kitchen cloths, and a hand cream to the participants) which has made this project possible.