With Age Comes Wisdom…
January 28th, 2011 - By Therese Madden
And healthy cooking! Join a group of seniors citizens as they adapt their frying pans to leaner cooking methods for better health and nutrition.
"My grandmother and I, we used to make animal pancakes together."
"My grandmother Sarah taught me how to make chicken soup, and matzah balls."
"My grandmother taught me how to make perogies."
A lot of people learn to cook from their elders, but what about the other way around? "So, how many people cook for their grandchildren," that's 19-year-old Laquanda Dobson, she's teaching a group of senior citizens how to cook a healthy broccoli stir-fry. "First, you add the onions, so that they can start to get their aroma into the pot."
Laquanda works for the Agaston Urban Nutrition Initiative, a program of the University of Pennsylvania that works with the surrounding communities. "I want to do cooking lessons in the community because if you don't engage someone they don't know. So, I feel as tho, in other communities they may have access to healthy cooking demos or access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but in our community we really don't have access to fresh fruits or vegetables or people telling them the correct ways to eat and cook."
The classes are free and each person has a health related reason for being here. Anastasia Alexander is 67-years-old. She has had two knee replacements, and recently lost 47 pounds, "I am here because I am interested in living a healthy life. Once upon a time I had no understanding of a healthy life, but now I understand and I am trying to take every opportunity to do what is right, eat what is right, and so far everything is going very good."
It's not that the students in the class don't know how to cook, it's that they are used to cooking methods that are high in fat and sodium. Laquanda adds ginger to the stir-fry and explains that ginger and garlic are healthy ways to add flavor, "ginger has this little spice kick to it, so when you add it, it just gives you that, wow! Flavor, like bam!
And as for the saying about teaching an old dog new tricks? Biddle Kalaman is 79-years-old, he has diabetes, high cholesterol and he loves fried food. But he came to this class, and he does want to learn how to cook healthier. "I can change, I'm going to change, I'm going to get healthy and maybe live to be 100."