Boulder CO Food Revolution And School Of Eating GoodThu 17 Nov 2011
Story by Sharon Badian and Ronnie Trowbridge
Boulder is an area of contrasts. Touted as the healthiest city in the US, it is home to world-class athletes, a network of bicycle and pedestrian paths second to none, and one of the highest revenue generating fast food taco joints in the country. We donít have to fight for healthy food in our schools; there isnít sweetened milk served and there is a Garden to Table effort underway at elementary schools.
But we are well aware that even in such a wonderfully healthy place, we are losing the battle against obesity. Although Colorado has the lowest adult obesity rate in the US, the rate has jumped from 10.7% to 19.8% in the last 15 years. Over many discussions about this situation and what we could do to address it, the School of Eating Good was born. We provide small, hands-on classes on basic cooking skills and show young adults that cooking good food is fun, easy, and economical.
We choose to focus on young adults because they are going out into the world, often lacking basic cooking skills. Busy parents, many of whom never learned to cook themselves, havenít taught their children to cook. Cooking hasnít been taught to schoolchildren in over 3 decades. Thatís changing now, but young adults have missed that opportunity. Although young adults may not have cooked much before, they are in a great position to learn new skills and try new foods. Being off on your own has a way of opening up all sorts of possibilities.
Young adults have watched a lot of cookingĖ on morning TV, on its own network, on reality shows. But watching cooking isnít the same as actually cooking. You donít learn how to play tennis by watching the US Open. And, you donít learn how to cook by only watching TV.
Boulder County Farmer's Market
You need to pick up a knife and a sautť pan and use them. Our students gain confidence in basic skills such as knife handling, understanding cooking terms, and techniques by actually cooking.
Best of all, we make cooking fun! Eating right seems so daunting. We emphasize the fun and pleasure of cooking (and eating) real food. We show that cooking and eating together is a powerful way to build community and make friends, particularly important when you are living on your own for the first time.
We are just getting started, but we have lots of plans for our future. We have partnered with our local university to bring cooking classes to students. Our first class brought together students who were accomplished cooks with those who didnít know how to hold a knife. By the end of the session, they had become fast friends, simply by cooking and eating together. We are looking at other ways to connect with young people in the area through sororities, religious groups and other Food Revolution efforts.
About the authors: Ronnie Trowbridge and Sharon Badian are former engineers who set up and run the Boulder CO Food Revolution and the School of Eating Good. Sharon has a degree in culinary arts; Ronnie just cooks like she has one. Their idea of a good time is making chocolate truffles, checking out the newest neighborhood pizza joint, and plotting a trip to Paris.
Photo of Tomatoes courtesy of Diane Fritz
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