Features Walthamstow

What’s soup?

In her regular column on the latest goings on at The Mill community centre, Helen Bigham gets slicing and dicing A quotation close to my heart is: […]By Waltham Forest Echo

In her regular column on the latest goings on at The Mill community centre, Helen Bigham gets slicing and dicing

Nat Di Maggio serving his broth at The Mill’s monthly Souper Wednesday event (credit Helen Bigham)

A quotation close to my heart is: “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with them… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

The Mill hasn’t got a catering kitchen but that doesn’t mean food can’t be shared here. A talented batch of volunteers called Mill Bakers produce delicious cakes for all our events, the next one being the ‘spooktacular’ Halloween Family Day on Saturday 28th October. Cakes and biscuits are also regularly donated to our refreshment stand in the living room, while fresh coffee and homemade biscotti biscuits are baked by volunteer Sue on the first Tuesday morning of each month.

After all, The Mill is a community centre with a difference – we don’t run groups or deliver services directly, instead we help local people make their ideas happen. If you’ve a burning passion that you’d like to act on, we could be the space for you.

An example of this is our monthly Souper Wednesdays, which is a brainchild of one of our volunteers, Nat Di Maggio. Nat, with his alter ego Big Buddah’s Thai Kitchen, loves to support local people, and for each bowl of his aromatic soup sold money goes towards The Mill.


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Fruit and veg for Nat’s cooking pot are donated by OrganicLea, a workers’ cooperative growing food on London’s edge in the Lea Valley. They produce and distribute food and plants locally, and inspire and support others to do the same. The Mill is one of their collection points for deliveries; maybe you’ve seen their distinctive delivery milk float! OrganicLea’s aim is to bring people together to take action towards a more sustainable world.

This follows my rule of life, in which I try to buy food with thought, cook it with care, serve just enough, save what will keep, eat what would spoil, and don’t waste it.

In my house chocolate in any form doesn’t last long, however, chopping up fruit and veg and leaving it in a slow cooker can be a relaxing experience; nothing beats coming home to being greeted by a delicious smell knowing your evening meal is already made.

That’s not the only benefit to eating freshly prepared soup. Soup is delicious even just using only a few ingredients. Soup can also make you feel better. It’s no accident that chicken soup is always recommended to the sick – it’s easily digested and filled with health benefits. I personally love soup because it can help you lose weight, as a bowl of soup packs minimal calories but is very nutritious.

Lastly and most importantly, soup is affordable to make. So I suggest if you ever visit The Mill, stop off at one of the nearby Walthamstow Market stalls on your way, pick up some ingredients, and get dicing!

For more information about The Mill in Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow:

Visit themille17.org


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