For this month I’m mixing things up. Instead of highlighting a kitchen tool that kids can use and a recipe I’m going to be writing about an organization I’m passionate about; Cooking Matters.
I decided to write about this topic because this month my fiancee and I are incredibly busy preparing for our wedding on February 3rd. This past week has been consumed with coordinating our wedding party and trying to tie up loose ends. We’re both excited and anxious at the same time. Anxious about the flow of the days events and that all goes smoothly, but we are looking forward to the day and the week long vacation afterwards. We both need one!
Long story short it wouldn’t be feasible to be experimenting with recipes and kitchen tools suitable for the blog this month. So, what is Cooking Matters?
Cooking Matters is a non-profit organization that is part of the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign since 1994. They are committed to teaching families, children, and teens about healthy food through cooking and connecting them to nutritious food in high risk areas of food insecurity. Though some participants mistakenly think the program is a cooking class it is really a nutrition program. The classes have students participate in nutrition education lessons on a variety of topics such as:
- How to read the nutrition label
- Difference between Saturated and Unsaturated Fats
- What is a whole grain?
- Sugary drinks
- Shopping on a Budget
- Making low cost, nutritious meals
Cooking Matters Set Up
Each lesson is taught by a Nutritionist while the cooking part of the class is taught by a Chef/Cook. There’ll also be other volunteers there to help out as the Nutrition/Cooking Assistant.
The program itself runs as a 6 week program where participants meet with instructors once a week usually after or during school hours. It’s usually 2 hrs. in length and each participant receives a bag at the end of the lesson that includes a copy of the recipes used and the ingredients to cook them at home. At the end of the 6 week program each participant gets a certificate of completion and a bag of goodies including the recipe/instruction book used during the class, a cutting board, a Cooking Matters bag, and a cheese grater or other cooking implement.
In addition to cooking/nutrition classes they offer store tours where they will take a group through the store to give you tips for shopping on a budget, how to read nutrition labels, and compare unit prices. There’s even an app called Cooking Matters. You can download the app for free through the apple store. The app comes with cool recipe ideas and nutrition facts.
Cooking Matters Partners
Cooking matters often partners with community organizations in the area like WIC, SNAP, Headstart, after school programs, and others to bring classes to your community. Follow this link to see the list of areas they commonly serve.
I had the opportunity to work with Cooking Matters as a volunteer on a couple of occasions before I got a job at WIC. They’re goal and mission to help families learn about nutrition through cooking combines two of my passions which can help to explain why I’m looking forward to being able to volunteer for them again in the future.
To Learn More:
If you or your family would like to get involved in Cooking Matters follow this link.