Cooking in the community
An acquaintance of mine once said that, for singles cooking for themselves, a fancy dish was anything with more than two ingredients. While that was an exaggeration, making a full meal is a challenge for many people, single or not. In Elmwood, the weekly community kitchen at the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation is there to help.
Weekly cooking classes for residents of Chalmers and Elmwood began on Jan. 10 with chicken noodle soup on the menu, to be followed by polenta chili casserole, vegetarian lasagna, homemade chicken fingers, and finally a cabbage roll casserole on Feb. 7. All ingredients are provided for participants at these free events, allowing people to make dishes that may normally be beyond their budgets while also ensuring that everyone can produce something close to what the recipe requires.
The afternoons are often when people begin the process of making supper, and the community kitchen is scheduled to run from 1 to 3 p.m. on the five Tuesday afternoons. Although people might wish to register for all remaining lessons on Jan. 31 and Feb. 7, organizers are asking participants to select just one date to allow others the opportunity to take part in the event.
With one cooking session behind them, organizers Charity Strange and Anisa Demiri-Sedji were pleased with the results of their efforts.
“It was a great experience for me,” Demiri-Sedji said. Participants in the first session were already part of the programming at the centre, giving them a familiarity with the location and each other.
The kitchen at the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation is not large, but it has enough space for four or five cooks per session. Before each session, the organizers buy the groceries appropriate for the meal being cooked that day and divide the ingredients up so that each participant has an equal share. No one demonstrates the cooking process, although the organizers are available to help if necessary. When the cooking is done, participants can take the food home to provide a meal for themselves and their families.
Although the program is currently for residents of the Elmwood and Chalmers neighbourhoods, organizers hope to expand its reach to include people from the New Directions group, “teaching people who haven’t had a chance to learn,” as Strange said.
Food and learning – what could be better than that?
To register for a community kitchen session, call 204-669-0750 or email email@example.com
Elmwood community correspondent
Susan Huebert is a community correspondent for Elmwood