I believe cooking and eating is a universal language that could bond people from different background and culture.
Coming from Asia, I love foods that are spicy, tasty, oily and deep-fried. I have developed a special taste bud for Asian foods.
Now, I live in Vancouver, Canada and once in a while, I have a craving for my own foods. Finding all the ingredients, spices and herbs are not that difficult since Vancouver is such a diverse city – I can go to Asian markets in Chinatown or any places in Greater Vancouver Area. However, the problem is sometimes the ingredients are not fresh – they are frozen. Price is also an issue. Another concern is that I am more aware of the health issue – we all want to live a long healthy life, yet the foods we eat are not always the healthy foods.
Then, in April 2012, I was offered a Healthy Family Cooking Skills workshop organized by a non profit organization collaborated with a community house where I live.
I was fortunate to be able to join this 6-week Food Skills for Families workshop with wonderful women from multicultural background: Canada, Iraq, Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, China, and Thailand.
The objective was to have all of us learn how to cook nutritious and delicious meals family and have fun doing it together. There were two facilitators for this program – they were knowledgeable and helpful – they prepared things for us such as buying all the ingredients, bringing cooking utensils and providing recipes.
We gathered every Monday morning at 9.30 till 12.30. The kitchen we used is a demo kitchen – big, spacious with sophisticated oven, stove top, microwave – a modern kitchen.
What did we learn?
- Basic and introduction such as: how to keep food safe, how to wash our hands properly, basic measurements , and variety for healty eating.
- Benefits of fruits, vegs and whole grains
- Benefits of meat and alternatives, milk and healthy fats
- Planning healthy meals, snacks and beverages
- Savy shopping : valuable tips were given to us in doing our grocery, what to look for, and how to save more, how to select our produce, meat, milk and alternatives, and most importantly, how to read nutrients label and compare.
- How to sustain change and keep fit
All of us had a great time learning together, preparing foods from the recipes, eating, and cleaning up the mess afterwards. We also learned from each other: special culinary for each culture, what make it special, how to make it, where to buy exotic ingredients in Vancouver, which store sells reasonable produce, and many more.
Key take-aways for all of us
We have more confidence in preparing meals and baking cakes. We know how important it is to consume more grains and beans, vegs and fruits, yoghurts and cheese, and how to reduce salt, sugar and fat. We know and experience ourselves that healthy foods can be delicious too!
At the end of the session each of us made a pledge. My commitment is to stay healthy, keep fit, be a smart chef and savy shopper.
Once in a while I still have the craving for my local foods but I learn to modify the recipe with healthy ingredients.
Thank you for the workshop and friendship!