“The financial crisis means people are thinking about how to save money,” industrial engineer Helga Schmidt, who has been teaching cooking courses for 12 years, told the paper. “They're worried that they will be worse off financially in the future, so they come to my courses to try to learn how to cook well for less,” she said.
The course is more popular than ever, and the most recent €3 spread included curry soup with iceberg lettuce, cucumber with feta and quark (a kind of curd cheese similar to fromage frais), chicory and ham bake, quark quiche with leek, and apple with vanilla pudding with sprinkles for dessert. All of the ingredients were fresh, and the bill for feeding the course's 15 participants came to €45. Students even had prosecco as an aperitif, bought at a discount store for €1 per bottle, 55-year-old Schmidt told the paper.
It is not only recipients of Hartz IV, the German unemployment benefit, who want to learn to cook cheaply, Express emphasised. “It's also students, apprentices, people in their first job or pensioners,” Schmidt said, adding that she hopes to “bring business management into the kitchen – that means getting maximum results from minimum input.”
Schmidt teaches her cooking courses, which include themes like “Star Trek Kitchen” and “Wild Plants,” and "All About the Sausage" at Volkshochschule locations around Cologne and Bonn.