Cook with me now

  • Published
  • By 2nd. Lt. Rachelle Smith
  • 92 Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Cooking gets a "Wednesday Addams" amount of enthusiasm from me. It's tedious and time consuming. Standing for hours, sweating a little and crying over onions never seems very fun to me.

Although, when I saw a flyer about a free healthy cooking class at the Health and Wellness Center around lunch time on a Thursday, I went. It's pretty hard to say no to free food, especially when you realize you've forgotten your debit card and don't have cash.

I went in, ready to grit my teeth and wait until the food was made, but instead was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had.

The class was also attended by two retirees, an Airman 1st class, a dependent wife and her 9-month-old daughter. The instructor, Alyson Kresser, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron Health and Wellness Center registered dietitian welcomed us all and we got started.

We put on our aprons, washed our hands and got cooking.

Kresser explained the recipes and corresponding vegetables we'd be using and had all sorts of interesting facts up her sleeve. I learned that the reason roasted vegetables tasted sweeter was because the sugars released in the vegetable caramelized as they cooked. In fact, the same thing happens in a toaster with bread.

She also showed us how to properly test meat with a thermometer to make sure that it was fully cooked as opposed to cutting it, which dries it out.

"I've been coming to this class since January," said retired Lt. Col. Jim "Stormy" Weathers, a former B-52 navigator. "It's the best place on base to eat lunch and you learn, too!"

"I really enjoyed the juicing class," said retired Tech. Sgt. Chris Herron, a former tanker crew chief, "Alyson mentioned the cooking class and I thought, 'I'm there!'"

Before I knew it, an hour had passed. There was a steaming plate of roasted vegetables, grilled chicken and a colorful cucumber salad in my hands.

It was delicious. I could not believe that I helped make such a flavorsome and healthy meal.

"My husband loves to cook with me now," said Rachel Neuenkirchen, who had also been attending since January.

I left the class, full and impressed with quick and easy meal planning sheets and a nutrient rich shopping list. What a great experience. It looks like I'll be forgetting my debit card again on June 19th.