Doctor’s orders: Get Cooking!

Cooking class at the Parkview Women's Health Center

Can you imagine coming home after a long day’s work to a delightful meal ready and waiting for you, prepared by one of your kids?  The scene is just one of many benefits of teaching your children to cook and to understand good nutrition.

Learning to cook connects you with earth’s bounty and the science of food and broadens your knowledge of foods available. When you prepare food, not only does the process and end result tantalize and reward your taste buds, but some pretty cool chemistry happens, too – in the pan and in the home. Cooking together helps bond your family. But ultimately, people who prepare their own food absolutely, positively, hands-down eat healthier diets. 

Author Michael Pollan wrote: “Cooking might be the most important factor in fixing our public health crisis.”

Amen. Think about how true that statement is. Our markets can be bursting with tantalizing and healthy goods, but if you don’t know how to prepare the food, you’re out of luck. It is a journey you need to be willing to take for your health and your family’s health. Healthy food can taste fabulous, a fact that eliminates the idea that healthy eating deprives you of something. When you equate healthy eating and cooking with soul-satisfying delight, cooking at home becomes a way of life and you can feel fantastic. There is no going back.   

If you are a novice cook, start by honing your culinary skills with a good basic cookbook such as New York Times lead food columnist Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything – the Basics. Or you can pick up copies of Cooking Light or Eating Well magazines to sample recipes that are skillfully planned for maximum taste and health. Even Martha Stewart is running her cooking school on PBS now.

Check out YouTube cooking channels for the explosion of hundreds of video tutorials not only for the amateur cook, but also for the seasoned professional. You can even set up a Google+ account and go to “Google+ Hangouts” and sign on to be part of small “live” cooking demos. You can chat with some of the heavy hitters in the food world as you see them preparing their food in real time.

If you like to see cooking happen in front of you, keep an eye on offerings through Parkview Women’s Health Center, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne’s continuing education program, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation or the Allen County Purdue Extension Office.

With the renaissance of local eating and farmers markets, I bet we’ll be seeing more cooking classes offered in our area. In fact, we’ve got a program scheduled at the Women’s Health Center on Thursday, July 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Learn why eating local is one of the hottest food trends, and with good reason. Watch Chappell’s Coral Grill Executive Chef Bryan Adams in action as he creatively prepares luscious local fare. Get the latest on sustainable seafood in our area and across the nation. The cost is $10. Call (260) 672-6500 to reserve your spot. 

Photo: Scott Kammerer, executive chef and culinary director for the Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball team, offers a cooking demonstration with his children at the Parkview Women's Health Center. 
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