By Amy Campbell
Lots of laughs, good chats and great eats were all part of Community Kitchen cooking sessions offered by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. The three-hour cooking sessions took place in First Nation communities and Friendship Centres in the Nipissing and Parry Sound districts.
Participants and staff prepared healthy snacks of homemade hummus, veggies and pita crisps. Elders and their helpers sliced, diced and chopped ingredients to prepare a lunch of chicken cacciatore, served on whole wheat egg noodles with a side of crunchy coleslaw, roasted sunflower seeds and raisins. An oat-topped crisp made with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries rounded off the diabetic-friendly meal.
As well as preparing lunch, the group worked together to prepare beef stroganoff and a sweet potato and barley side dish, which were placed in freezer bags for participants to take home.
The sessions highlighted the safe use of slow cookers for meal preparation, healthy eating to prevent diabetes, easy-to-prepare meals, food safety and good food-handling techniques. Jessica Love, Registered Dietitian, led the sessions, along with Sarah Lynch, Dietetic Intern, and Amy Campbell, Community Health Promoter.
All those who took part in the Community Kitchen program received a slow cooker, food thermometer and recipe booklet. Featured recipes featured slow cooker main dishes and included moose or venison stews, side dishes and breakfast ideas.
At Dokis First Nation, people said the session was fun and the food was good. “I plan on making my own hummus using this recipe,” said Bernie Dokis. Kerri Campbell at Henvey Inlet said that 12 participants was a great turnout for a cooking session.
Sessions were also held at Magnetawan, Wasauksing and Shawanaga First Nations, as well as at Friendship Centres in Parry Sound and North Bay. The Madadjiwan Centre hosted the workshop for the Mattawa community.
The Community Kitchens were funded as part of the Healthy Eating component of the Aboriginal Diabetes Prevention Program offered in Nipissing and Parry Sound by the Health Unit.