GRAVETTE — The second in a series of EFNEP (Enhanced Food and Nutrition Education Program) cooking classes was held Thursday evening, May 4, at the Gravette Civic Center. The classes, hosted by the Gravette Public Library, are designed to help adults raising children on limited incomes learn to feed their families well without breaking their food budget. They are part of the library’s Grow It — Cook It — Save It program and are supported by grants from Penguin Random House and 4imprint.
Kathy Love of the University of Arkansas Extension Office in Bentonville and Jacqueline Silva, EFNEP Nutrition Educator, gave class members some tips to help chefs stretch their budgets. They suggested buying local and buying in season. Better yet, grow your own garden and trade with neighbors. If you do buy foods, buy whole rather than pre-cut or sliced to save money.
Silva also gave some pointers on food safety and good nutrition. She encouraged buying foods without added sodium or sugar, washing produce before eating, and trying to reduce fat, salt and sugar in the diet. When you eat foods higher in fat, salt and sugar, enjoy them in moderation. She also said it’s better to eat rather than drink fruits and vegetables because whole produce also offers fiber as well as vitamins and minerals and is more nutritious than juicing.
Each class member was given charts showing locally grown fruits and vegetables and their harvest dates, key nutrients in foods, and information on the benefits of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Each student also received a planter stand with the Gravette Public Library logo provided through grant funds.
Love gave some instructions on measuring using both measuring spoons and measuring cups, and then let each member of the class practice measuring correctly before starting to cook. The students were then given recipes and prepared Mushroom Barley Soup, Strawberry Spinach Salad and Double Cornbread Muffins for their dinner.
Artemis Edmiston, a library employee, attended the class as a library facilitator and also as a class member.
Two more classes will be held, Thursday, May 11 and Thursday, May 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Gravette Civic Center.
Teen Kitchen and Kids in the Kitchen courses for teens and children interested in cooking will be held in June. Teen Cooking classes will be held from 11:30am to 12:15pm every Thursday in June, starting June 1st. Kids Kitchen Lessons will be held weekly on Wednesdays from 1pm to 2pm starting June 14th and ending July 5th. Registration information for these programs will be available soon.