Cooking Matters (formerly Operation FrontLine) is Share Our Strength's popular and successful national nutrition education program that connects families with food by teaching them how to plan, purchase and prepare nutritious and satisfying meals at home, on a limited budget. Cooking Matters is offered in Tompkins County (NY) through the Nutrition Education Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, in partnership with Share Our Strength.
Cooking Matters classes are led by local volunteers who are chefs or nutrition professionals. Classes are "hands-on" and class members practice basic lessons that include knife skills, how to read ingredient labels, how to cut up a whole chicken, and how to make a healthy meal for a family of four on a $10 budget. Adults and teens take home a bag of groceries after each class so they can practice the recipes they learned that day. Classes are FREE and are held at the CCE-Tompkins Education Center in Ithaca and at other neighborhood locations around Tompkins County that make it easy for families to attend.
Who can take classes?
Cooking Matters serves a diverse audience of families with limited resources. Most participants are enrolled in food assistance programs including SNAP (food stamps) and free or reduced-price school meals. Many also rely on food pantries when other food sources run out.
What classes may I take?
Each Cooking Matters course teaches kids and parents important lessons about self-sufficiency in the kitchen. Share Our Strength provides several different class plans that cover nutrition and healthy eating, food preparation, budgeting and shopping. Contact our office to learn which of the following classes are being offered:
- Cooking Matters for Adults teaches adults with limited resources (mostly adults with children) how to shop for and prepare healthy meals on a limited budget. Depending upon the needs of the class, it also may include information from Start by Eating Right (which focuses on the needs of adults with preschool-aged children). It also may be paired with Eating Well or The Dish on Diabetes, which include information especially for adults living with HIV/AIDS or diabetes, respectively. Cooking Matters for Adults and Start by Eating Right are available in both English and Spanish.
- Cooking Matters for Kids is for children aged 8-to-12 and teaches simple healthy recipes that children can prepare themselves.
- Cooking Matters for Families teaches school-aged children (aged 6-to-12) and their parents about eating healthy as a family, and about the importance of working together to plan and prepare healthy meals on a budget.;
- Cooking Matters for Teens teaches teens how to make healthy food choices, and to prepare meals and snacks for themselves, their families and friends.
- Cooking Matters for Young Parents teaches teen parents how to make healthy food choices and prepare nutritious foods for themselves and their children.
- Cooking Matters for Childcare Professionals teaches child care professionals about healthy meal preparation and healthy food environment s for the kids in their care.
Cooking Matters, a program of the national nonprofit Share Our Strength, is nationally sponsored by the ConAgra Foods® Foundation and Walmart. Additional local support comes from Taste of the Nation, Great American BakeSale and other fundraising events. Learn more about the program at the National Cooking Matters website.
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