Cooking Matters courses are designed as six weekly, two-hour lessons.
Cooking Matters MA collaborates with community-‐based organizations like Head Start centers and after-‐school programs to reach families in familiar and accessible settings. In addition to recruiting course participants, community partners provide kitchen and classroom space, as well as interpreters and childcare as needed. A Cooking Matters MA course coordinator serves as the liaison to the community partner and brings all cooking supplies, ingredients, and class materials to the site. Coordinators also recruit and train volunteer instructors for each course. Volunteer instructors share their education and experience in the culinary and nutrition fields, teaching course participants skills ranging from knife techniques to choosing healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Engaging volunteers keeps program administration costs down and builds community wealth by providing an opportunity for volunteers to take action against hunger.
By initiating discussions and introducing activities that build upon participants’ own experiences, instructors create effective learning opportunities. Course participants build confidence in their new skills through active class participation, enabling positive behavior changes in daily life. Classmates also help one another by sharing feedback on each other’s progress. Participants receive ingredients weekly to practice making the class recipes at home. By using what they learn in class at home, Cooking Matters MA course graduates maximize their food resources, make healthier choices for their families, and prepare balanced, delicious meals. Because proper nutrition is critical for children’s health, development, and ability to learn, acquiring these skills can return important long-‐term benefits for a family’s physical and economic well-being.
Cooking Matters offers four specialized 6-week course curricula:
Cooking Matters for Adults teaches low-income adults (primarily adults with children) how to prepare and shop sensibly for healthy meals on a limited budget. The program is often paired with Cooking Matters EXTRA for Parents of Preschoolers, an addendum focused specifically on adults with preschool-age children. Cooking Matters for Adults and CookingMatters EXTRA for Parents of Preschoolers are available in both English and Spanish.
Cooking Matters for Families teaches school-age children (ages 6 to 12) and their parents about healthy eating as a family and 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, meals and snacks for themselves, their families and friends.
Each Cooking Matters six week course teaches kids and parents important lessons about self-sufficiency in the kitchen. Participants practice fundamental lessons including knife skills, reading ingredient labels, cutting up a whole chicken, and making 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 taught that day.
If you are interested in hosting a Cooking Matters six week course, please review information on becoming a partner organization.