RODNEY doesn't have any pots and pans in the cupboard - let alone cooking experience.
And he usually eats alone.
``I'd never even heard of wholemeal pasta before today,'' the 38-year-old said.
But the bolognaise sauce bubbling on the stovetop was one of several new dishes the Launceston man has added to his arsenal, along with roast pumpkin soup, vegetable-laden pizzas and shepherd's pie.
Welcome to the FOODcents kitchen: where vulnerable Tasmanians are learning to produce cheap, healthy and tasty food.
The Red Cross and Mission Australia project aims to equip the frail, elderly and those with a disability or mental illness with simple cooking skills.
The statewide program, which is free to Home and Community Care clients, is delivered in small groups and involves six three-hour lessons.
FOODcents regional co-ordinator Linda Richardson said many participants had never learnt to cook, let alone budget or judge nutritional value.
``I guess it's about showing that you only need to make small changes over a long period of time to be able to cook affordable, healthy meals,'' she said.
The program doubles as a lesson in budgeting, nutrition and food safety, with participants discussing the benefits of adding vegetables, drinking water, cutting salt and sugar and committing to regular exercise.
``The social benefits of being able to cook are also wide-reaching,'' Ms Richardson said.
``It's a confidence builder - something that gives you self-worth.
``Food is also something you can share with other people.''
More than 50 Tasmanians have graduated from the program in its two years.
Rodney, one of the most recent Launceston graduates, said he only owned a small saucepan and a wooden spoon.
``I'm definitely more confident, it's why I joined the program,'' he said. ``I might even be able to have some friends over for dinner.''
He was also pretty pleased with his pasta.
``Yep, this is the best thing I've cooked yet,'' he said.
For more information on the FOODcents program, contact Red Cross Mowbray on 6326 0400 or Linda Richardson at lrichardson