“Cooking During Hard Times”
This is the name of my new cooking class and soon to be available cookbook. In May 2011, Joplin, Mo experienced a F-5 tornado. At that time I was unemployed and wondering what God had in store for my future. I say that it took an F-5 tornado to put me in the place of my calling. The Thursday after the tornado, I stopped by to see my friend, Pastor Daniel Wermuth II at Joplin Family Worship Center. It was a crazy scene, people everywhere, trucks showing up with supplies, people showing up to volunteer, rescue efforts still in place, and emergency workers everywhere. I asked pastor Dan, “How can I help you?”
That night we housed 15 volunteers for the night, and the next day I worked about 15 hours and then did it all over again daily for three years. I became the Community Liaison to attend all the community relief efforts and the Director of Operations of the Hope 4 Joplin relief center at Joplin Family Worship.
One of the blessings that the Lord allowed us to do was to establish a make shift grocery store. We set all the supplies that had been donated in an orderly manner, like a store, and clients could shop for the items they needed. One issue that we encountered in food distribution was the preference for ready to eat food. I could not understand this, so I started asking questions.
We had many items that were donated that required cooking including beans, rice, lentils, fresh vegetables, and canned foods. When these items came in and we set them out, as we walked the clients around we would offer so many of these items to them. “NO! I don’t want that.” I asked why? “I don’t know what to do with it.” This was very perplexing to me. I continued to ask questions and take notes. I asked other agencies who do food distribution and found the same thing.
It became more clear when I had a conversation with Kathy Lewis Director of Crossline Churches of Joplin. I told Kathy about this and asked if she had experienced a preference for ready made foods, too. The answer was yes. I asked her opinion of why. She said that they had done survey’s of clients, and one of the things clients requested was cooking classes. I found this very interesting.
I started thinking about this and doing a little research and realized that not everyone grows up in a household with cooks. According to http://www.dailymail.co.uk 30% of college students can’t boil and egg
This spoke to me that there was a need for basic cooking skills training. I thought about my wife and I, and how we handled feeding a family of 6 when we had no income. This was the birth of: Pantry Basics – Cooking During Hard Times.
Over 5 years in the making, I held my first cooking class at Crossline Churches of Joplin’s new facility. This was a very special night to have this dream finally come true.
There were four people signed up for the class, and I had three in attendance. The first thing I had the students do was to wash their hands, and then we made bread.
The loaf pictured is the basic recipe with added Italian seasoning and fresh garlic cloves. It was awesome.
Tuesday night was the first class of a 4 part series.
- Introduction to Pantry Basics and Bread
- Soups, Beans, and Eggs 101
- Chicken 101, Breakfast, and Vegetables
- Meats, Pasta, and Desserts
Each week we will cover the topic with hands on cooking, sharing recipes, and interactive discussions.
At the end of this class, the students will have established a fully stocked pantry, have basic cooking information, and be able to feed the family during hard times or on a tight budget.