Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cooking Classes . . . Got recipes??

With new stoves and new ovens, the women of the improved stoves project and I are begining cooking classes. Malnutrition is prevalent in the area. World Vision came though a couple of months ago to weigh the children who are being sponsored by people in the states. I went to help out and visit Anna, the Peace Corps volunteer in Gracias who works for World Vision, who was working with them. Anna was in charge of weighing all of the kids that came in and if they were underweight, they were sent to another corner of the kindergarten where they met with a doctor. If the kids were a healthy weight, they were sent off with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Unfortunately, I don’t remember seeing a single child being sent off without first having to go see the nurse.

Hopefully through these classes, the women will learn how to cook more healthily through baking more, frying less, and learning a variety of new recipes. What are we gonna try first?? . . . Pizza! And everyone is super excited!! (I gave it a trial run with my friend Sonia in her oven and it cooked perfectly!) Through these cooking classes, I also hope that the women can learn to make faster, easier foods so they will have more free time that they can dedicate to other things such as other work, pottery, or being with their family. And who knows? We already broke the barrier that manual labor is just for men, maybe the men can participate in learning the easy recipes and prepare lunch or dinner for their wife! Another possibility is learning to make bread and since the same fire that heats the stoves heats the oven below, the women can be making lunch and backing bread at the same time which they can sell at community events and generate more income.

So, what I am asking from all of you is if you have any healthy, easy recipes that you think would be fun and would like to contribute to the women of Nueva Esperanza, I am putting together a cookbook and would love your contributions. The ovens heat up to about 350 degrees or so but lower temperature recipes would probably be ideal. Also, the ovens only heat up from the top so any foods you know how to make that require broiling or that recommend being baked on the top rack of an oven would be awesome. Thanks so much for your help!!

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