Our food and drink writer Jen Perry, a former Lymm High School student, runs the baking school and mobile afternoon tea emporium Room Forty

VEGANUARY? Dry January? Did you do either, both, neither?

Has anyone else started the new decade with a bid to be a better citizen in 2020?

I haven’t done Veganuary, but I have spent an awful lot of time reading cook books and working out how I can include more plant-based dining into my family meal times and into the Room Forty Afternoon Tea menu.

It hasn’t been met 100 per cent positively at home, but as I am the cook and the shopper the chance to influence them sits with me.

I really believe that if we all make some little changes they will amount to making a big difference.

Not only will our planet be a better place but we can become healthier too – cooking from scratch involves very little plastic, gives you more leftover ingredients to cook with the next day and is more nutritious too.

With the devastating fires in Australia and increasing local flooding we should all be united in a shock call to action – to change the way we act and consume. And so my column focuses on some simple things we can do to address it.


Did you know that the average family in the UK throws away and average of £810 of food a year?

It seems crazy that in our country so much food is produced then wasted when many people are having to resort to food banks to survive.

At Room Forty the thing that is wasted is the crusts as we serve our sandwiches in the traditional way. But that’s where it ends.

Each of our cakes is made for the party and as they are made fresh they’ll be good for a couple of days.

When we’re given a glut of fruit we process it into jam or chutney and if there isn’t enough time we wash it and freeze it to use in crumbles, fruit pies and as zingy syrups.

Check out lovefoodhatewaste.com for tips on how to use your leftovers.

It’s great if you have some leftover mash or chicken left from Sunday and you want to do something different with it.

And always make a shopping list.

You’ll be surprised at how much money you save at the same time.


It makes sense.

You’ll be creating less CO2 by not travelling as far, supporting your shops and suppliers and keep the local economy turning.

Small shopkeepers know the provenance of their products and have a reputation to uphold.

Pop into your nearby butcher or bakery.

Try makers markets on your doorstep and try and buy your fruit and veg without the plastic bags.

Plus there are some amazing new shops in Warrington such as Powered by Plants found under the arches in Crown Street near Cockhedge Centre.

Bring a reusable container and you can refill your shampoo and cleaning materials bottles and buy eco-friendly ingredients in the quantities you want them.

It’s great and the products are environmentally friendly too.

Worth a look.

As a company which only uses recycled crockery (it’s vintage and around 80 years old) and washes it all by hand, we’re comfortable with our many of our eco credentials but we could always improve.

As practical, affordable and hygienic alternatives come forward in 2020 we will be switching to them.

Our planet can’t wait.