Campbell’s Consumer Test Kitchen and our Healthy Communities initiative have partnered with the Food Bank of South Jersey and Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters® Family Cooking program for the third year in a row, where local families and children take part in classes teaching better food choices and basic cooking skills.
Jane Freiman, Group Manager of the Consumer Test Kitchen, has led these sessions as part of an after school program since 2012 with the help of Campbell volunteers throughout various departments like Global Nutrition, Food Service, IT, and the Global Design Center. A total of 27 local family members and 32 children have taken the classes and have learned about nutrition and cooking techniques, all in an effort to help them make more informed and healthful food choices.
“It was rewarding to see them not only have fun as they were learning but also to try foods that they never would have normally tried. For example, lettuce, kiwi, jicama or learn to how make turkey tacos,” Jane said of the children’s learning experience. “Now, they know how easy it is to make simple meals at home and how it is better for them instead of grabbing fast food.”
As part of this year’s class, the children were divided into four teams to develop a recipe. Showing them how to use math and communication skills—and how important it is to not leave out any detail when creating and writing a recipe—this exercise reinforced team work.
The classes started with the basics, showcasing topics like nutrition, food safety, kitchen etiquette, the different food groups and how to read labels. Each course also had a cooking component, where the students made trail mixes, salads, stir-fries and even kale chips!
Over the 6-week duration of the class, the students transformed into confident cooks who wanted to show off their new skills. The last class gave the children the opportunity to showcase what they learned with a final recipe that they created with their group.
Each group was rewarded with a special honor, receiving one of the following ribbons: Best Team Work, Best Presentation, Most Flavorful and Chef’s Choice.
The kids were incredibly proud of their creations but Kim Fortunato, Director, Healthy Communities, was even more proud. She noted about the program, “The Cooking Matters six week course is a favorite among the variety of our healthy communities programs offered to our partner schools. In addition to engaging many students in their first cooking experience, the course avails a hands-on learning experience that crosses several core subject areas. Equally as important, it affords a great engagement opportunity for our employees.”
This Cooking Matters class is a great opportunity for Campbell to share our kitchen space with students in our community and to teach those children basic cooking skills and how to make healthy food choices, as well as how to work together as a team.
To learn more about how Campbell is engaged in creating Healthy Communities, click here.