Cooking as Community Outreach

In response to Teach them to cook:

I know many conservative activist groups who are committed to helping their communities – no politics, no personalities, just principles.  Several of them have expanded their activities to do outreach in nearby urban communities in an effort to help bridge the gap where community help doesn’t always exist.  For these groups, it’s their way of trying to get back to our roots, where community members helped one another in lieu of government programs.

But there are those who are part of the legitimate safety net that exists, where government assistance is intended to help give people in need temporary relief, until they can get back on their feet again.  And many want to be independent.

It struck me that many people in general today don’t necessarily know how to cook.  That’s not a criticism, but a realization. There are a million reasons today why some don’t know how to cook, and I can say that I know several who weren’t raised in an environment where learning to cook was exactly an option.  And home economics wasn’t something their schools focused on, either.  These are friends who were lucky if they even got one good meal a day when they were growing up.

And so it dawned on me that this is actually a good opportunity for conservatives who are out there doing that kind of community outreach today to expand their outreach.  And it’s a rare opportunity for bi-partisanship.  Why not do community outreach programs together that help people learn how to cook, and to make the limited budgets they have stretch the furthest they can? 

For those of us who’ve had to live on a very limited budget, we know that it sometimes takes some creative steps to find the right food at the right prices that can make meals to last throughout each week. Some foods aren’t always available in some areas.  Prepared foods are expensive.  So knowing where to find the ingredients for meals and how to cook those meals is a big part of making a limited budget go a long way.  Why not get people together to share some of those creative tips?  There may even be opportunity to partner with other community organizations in doing so – churches, soup kitchens, schools and community colleges, and so forth.

In talking about the SNAP challenge, I see opportunity for all sides to come together in trying to help their own nearby communities.