The art of eating smartPublished 5:50pm Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Roast, grill, steam, stir-fry, sauté. To the experienced chef, whipping up dinner using these methods and fresh ingredients is simple. For others, tackling new ways to find a healthier way to cook can seem like quite a hurdle.
That’s where Beaufort County Extension Agent Louise Hinsley steps in with Cook Smart | Eat Smart, a guided eight-month course that teaches students of all ages and backgrounds how to cook healthy — and good — food.
From March to October, Hinsley will hold monthly classes at the extension center in Washington, and in keeping with the Cook Smart | Eat Smart program, will keep it simple: simple preparation techniques, with simple equipment, using simple ingredients. The course is open to the public at a cost of $13.50 for all eight classes — the low cost, a reflection of a partnership between the extension center, Kate B. Reynolds Trust’s Healthy Places NC initiative and Eagle’s Wings food pantry.
“We’re trying to give people a broader perspective of things to eat,” Hinsley said, adding that part of that perspective is sharing the many ways that healthy eating can be easy and inexpensive.
“We’re really teaching some basic economy as well as teaching some basic cooking techniques,” Hinsley explained.
The course will impart information on shopping, food safety, reading nutrition labels, buying meat and how to stock a pantry with the basics, in addition to teaching participants how to make their own salad dressings, marinades and soups.
Hinsley said she loves to cook, and to share her knowledge, especially through easy, quick, and healthy, recipes like roasted vegetables: four cups of “crouton-sized” chopped vegetables, some basic spices and then roast.
“This amount of spices, this amount of oils. Put them in for 20 minutes and they’re fantastic. They’re yummy,” Hinsley said. “I can dice them up and put on a little Chinese Five Spice and throw them in the oven.”
While Hinsley will demonstrate how to master the cooking methods, each participant will get a chance to do some hands-on cooking. Hinsley said she’s taught her share of healthy-eating skeptics in classes she’s taught previously, but often all it takes is a taste of the results to convert skeptics.
“It’s just fun — it’s just good stuff,” she said.
And it’s all part of the effort to make Beaufort County a healthier place, she said.
The classes will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 19, April 17, May 29, June 26, July 10, Aug. 21, Sept. 18 and Oct. 30. All classes will be held at the Beaufort County Extension Center, 155 Airport Road, Washington. For more information about, or to register for, the Cook Smart | Eat Smart series, call 252-946-0111.