Cooking Matters

Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) is holding Cooking Matters at the Mcdermott Place on the second floor above North Helpline.  Designed to help people learn how to shop for and cook healthy meals within a budget, Cooking Matters is a nationally recognized program by No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength.  Hosted by North Helpline, HIP staff and volunteers are providing cooking instruction once a week for two hours from March 21st to April 25th.  Participants cook and share a meal at each class, and they get to take home a bag of groceries to try out the recipes they learn.  One class includes a grocery store tour in which each participant gets a gift card to practice shopping for healthy meals.

So far, each weekly class has been at full capacity with people eager to learn about cooking cost effective and healthy meals. One attendee said after one class, “I didn’t know salad could taste as good with just lemon and oil as a dressing.”

HIP staff and volunteers have also been keeping their menus open so that students can request certain meals. In the first week, someone said they liked Mexican food. In the following week, they put a healthy spin on it, learning to make veggie black bean quesadillas, pico de gallo, and a tropical fruit salad.  They also take time to share recipes with each other and lists of staples to keep in their kitchens. One student explained that she had taken similar classes, and this class was the one she learned the most.  “The teachers were so much better and more personable than others,” she explained. “It feels more like I’m getting together with friends to learn and share healthy, affordable recipes.”

Some of the classes have included topics like: Fruits, Veggies, and Whole Grains; Healthy vs Non-Healthy Fats; How to Make Healthy Versions of Your Favorite Dishes; Convenience Foods; and a Grocery Store Tour to practice making more cost-effective and healthier choices. Some students gave some comments after class.  One said, “We learned about substituting different foods to make them healthier. We also learned about how meal planning can help you keep to your healthy choices.”  Another student said, “Our class has been such a positive, thoughtful group over the past four weeks. Everyone in the class has brought a unique perspective and a wealth of their own experience that has added so much to the curriculum our instructors discuss. Tuesday nights with our class have become the highlight of my week!”