Get Stuffed 

Helping out in the kitchen

Community Kitchens make cooking a social, nutritious affair

A friend gave me a small plastic binder filled with blank, ruled pages. On the white, vinyl cover, in blue lettering was its title: My Very Own Cookbook. When I moved away from my parent’s house I diligently copied out recipes that I thought I might need to be able to cook for myself – something I had never done before.

It was the third year of living away from home and I was still a relative stranger to the kitchen when a girlfriend of mine, who I admired as worldly and intelligent, started to leaf through My Very Own Cookbook and started laughing. Embarrassed, I asked her what was so funny. She held up one of my own hand-written recipes, copied from an Italian cookbook as I recall, Pasta with Butter.

Confused and still embarrassed, I shrugged, "What?"

She replied, exasperated, "You need a recipe to cook pasta and butter?!"

Well, I felt that I did – at least as a reminder that it was a good dinner option, and a cheap one.

With the winter season now in full swing there are many new faces to be seen about town and for many people new to Whistler it is also the first time away from home and three square meals a day. Kraft Dinner, though a relatively cheap option in an expensive resort town, is not very sustainable. Learning to stretch a dollar and sustain a healthy diet are the two most valuable survival lessons away from home. Dialling long distance to ask your mom how to cook rice can get pretty costly too – especially if you are phoning south of the equator.

An easier and far more fun option is to take part in Community Kitchens, a program that targets these lessons in an easygoing, welcoming environment. Most importantly, no one will laugh at you for not knowing how to boil pasta.

Community Kitchens, run by Whistler Community Services, has been a successful program for several years running and it is becoming increasingly more popular. Anybody who would like to learn how to cook on a budget or how to maintain healthy eating habits, or who just wants to get out to learn about the variety of cheaper food options available, is invited to participate in the program. Tracy Higgs, a registered nutritional consulting practitioner, who has run the program for the past two years, says that though the program targets people who are learning to eat and cook, it can be a lot of fun and it encourages creativity in the kitchen.

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