It was our dear neighbors, John and Cleo Wester, Operation Feed benefactors, that got me involved with the organization. Initially it was a monthly contribution, but soon enough, each Thursday morning I’d be helping out at the Despensa.
Then the call came for volunteers to help restart cooking classes. “Why not?” I asked myself, “It could be fun, and you’re fluent in Spanish - why not share my cooking knowledge with the ladies in town and at the same time learn from them?!”
Although not a cook, I’ve a passion for cooking; having taken classes, and watched endless hours of tv food shows; absorbing and learning new techniques and recipes along the way. It helps having come from a long line of excellent Cuban home cooks: my mother, aunts and a few uncles!
Cooking classes are now held twice monthly, and feature an easy recipe using items received in the participants’ weekly dispensary package. I really enjoy preparing new recipes for them, and must consider the cost of the ingredients and cooking method. You see, most households in town don’t have ovens, presenting challenges in creating easy food prep for the ladies.
Slowly, through word-of-mouth, classes are gaining attention and attendance. They’re fun, lively and informative. And, most important, the Señoras of San Juan Cosalá learn to prepare basic items for their families in tasty, new ways. The results have been gratifying and positive.
So please consider contributing to the cooking fund. It would be wonderful to be able to offer a drawing at the end of each class for much needed new home cooking utensils.
I look forward to continuing teaching because, putting it simply, they’re teaching me!
A look at the past classes taught by Cheryl Kennedy
Cheryl got rave reviews for her cooking classes. She took on the task of designing recipes that used the despensa items, such as soy and oats, in new and tasty ways. The extra ingredients needed for each recipe, such as chia seeds, could be easily and cheaply found right in San Juan Cosalá. The participants looked forward to each class and were able to make the dishes at home over the fire in one pot. Cheryl was careful to recognize that the families do not have ovens and fancy equipment, so she orchestrated each lesson to be a one pot or one bowl recipe with little fuss but great taste. How about Soy Sloppy Joes or overnight oatmeal or no bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies? From the homes of Operation Feed families, the answer has been a resounding “YES!”