Cooking Together Virtually

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Since March, more families have been preparing meals at home. This large change of daily routine has sparked interest in many food-related topics. People are wanting to learn practical tips related to reducing their frequency of grocery shopping, incorporating more local foods into their meals, and substituting ingredients in recipes when certain items are not available. When it comes to food and meal preparation, we all bring different experiences, skills, and emotions to this daily activity. For some, cooking provides comfort and stress relief. Others may find that cooking induces stress or that it is difficult to find the motivation to plan meals outside of a few staple dishes. Many factors influence these feelings such as cooking skills, grocery budget, and availability of time.

Also, this change in routine has given many families the opportunity to spend more time together. Sharing responsibilities between family members during meal time helps make the experience more enjoyable and gives everyone a break from the screen. Cooking and eating together can strengthen relationships within your family. Developing cooking skills with youth can help in forming and encouraging life-long healthy habits. Plus, involving everyone in meal planning and preparation can reduce the overall time it takes to prepare meals.

If you would like to increase your comfort in the kitchen and add variety to your routine, consider joining N.C. Cooperative Extension – Lee County Center’s: Cook Smart, Eat Smart Virtual Cooking School. The Cook Smart, Eat Smart Cooking School will teach you and your family skills that will help to reduce stress in the kitchen. Each session focuses on ways to prepare healthy and delicious food. This program keeps it simple – simple healthy preparation techniques, simple ingredients, and simple equipment.

Each class, families will meet and cook together virtually using Zoom. The four class sessions will begin with a discussion around several basic cooking techniques and other topics related to eating and preparing meals at home. Next, the class instructor will conduct quick-cooking demonstrations related to the topics discussed. The class will conclude with practicing featured hands-on cooking skills in the comfort of your home kitchen. Recipes, a flexible shopping list, and a program orientation will be shared with participants after they register for the program. Households that attend all 4 sessions and send us a photo of each meal they prepared will receive a skill-building bundle of their choice. Options include a slow cooker meal kit, cooking with kids kit, or meal prep kit.

The Cook Smart, Eat Smart Cooking School is a free program that is open to the first eight families in Lee County that register. Classes will take place on July 14, 16, 21, and 23, 2020, from 4–6 p.m. Registration can be completed through Eventbrite by visiting cooksmartlee.eventbrite.com. If you have questions regarding the class, contact Alyssa Anderson at Alyssa_Anderson@ncsu.edu.

The N.C. Cooperative Extension – Lee County Center’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on food safety, wellness, and nutrition please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Alyssa Anderson, MS, RDN, LDN at 919-775-5624.