February 22, 2013

cooking matters

For the past six weeks I've been volunteering with an organization called Three Squares - so named for their belief that everyone should have three square meals a day.

A cornerstone of the work they do is teaching Cooking Matters classes in community centers all over the Bay Area. They have classes for children, teens, adults, and some are even in Spanish!

I volunteered to be the Chef Instructor for one of their teen classes. The goal was to teach healthy cooking and eating. And I have to admit, I learned quite a few things myself, including some healthy delicious recipes that are now part of my repertoire. They include the baked flaked chicken pictured above (paired with baked kale) as well as turkey burgers (like these) and pita pizzas (like these).

It was challenging teaching to teens with busy schedules - a lot of the students didn't attend regularly or had to leave early. Many of them had trouble sitting still and letting others talk without interruption. But when it came to cooking they generally became very focused. Hands-on learning was a big hit, and luckily for me that was the portion I taught.

In one of the classes I taught the teens how to make brown rice & veggie sushi. Two of the students had never even tasted sushi before. They each made their own roll and ate it with dipping sauce (soy sauce + vinegar), and all seemed to like it. It was very gratifying for me to have introduced them to something new.

Of course, I would encourage you to volunteer!

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