A reflection from Grace Marshall, one of HIP’s Nutrition Program Coordinators, about a Cooking Matters class she is coordinating.
As my second Cooking Matters class series nears the end, I can’t help but feel sad. I feel I have gotten just as much out of the class as the participants have, if not more.
The class consists of twelve women from a Muslim women’s support group through the North Seattle Family Center. While most of the women are already very skilled cooks, they expressed a desire to make their meals healthier, incorporate more vegetables, and learn dishes that take less time to make.
We (myself and our wonderful class volunteers) have done our best to meet those desires and answer all of their questions. The Cooking Matters curriculum sets us up well to do so. However, in many classes I have felt that they have more knowledge to share with me, than I have for them.
The time we spend together each week is fun and lively. Nutrition lessons are filled with discussion and questions. The time we spend cooking together is loud and busy with lots of talking and laughter. In each class we introduce the recipe and ingredients and then let them take the reins. Every week I leave wishing I would’ve written down a tip or a recipe they shared with me – how to make your own dried mint, a cold salad similar to pico de gallo, or a delicious date snack.
Aside from the food, their genuine kindness fills the room and every conversation I have had with them. I have loved being able to witness the community they have created. There is a nearly tangible feeling of it in the room.
When the meal is ready to eat, the women serve each plate and we all enjoy the food together. They have even been so kind to bring in and share some food of their own. During one class, a couple of women brought out a couscous dish and rice they had made. It was delicious.
I am so grateful to Cooking Matters and HIP’s partnership with the North Seattle Family Center for this opportunity to share food and spend time with these women. It has been such a treat and a great window into the amazing happenings in our north Seattle community.