Since 2010, an evening Potluck Cooking class takes place three nights a week at Community Living Skills. The class is mainly for individuals supported in Community Living Kirkland Lake’s Supported Independent Living Program and it gives them an opportunity to improve their basic cooking skills, lets them try new foods and provides them with a way to sit down and enjoy a meal with a group.
Sherry Fraser teaches the Monday class and her group has relatively unchanged since it started. She says that their skills have improved greatly and they take initiative to complete their tasks and are very motivated and efficient. “These classes are about more than just learning to cook. We plan our menus, make shopping lists, cover safe food handling and cleaning responsibilities.” Social interaction and manners are also strong components of the class.
Bobby Drury says he looks forward to cooking every Monday because he likes the way Sherry teaches them and they all have known each other for a long time and this gives them a chance to get together once a week. He also says it helps when we have to cook for ourselves at home.
While the food is cooking, the group sits down and plans their meal for the next week. The participants bring their own meal suggestions and recipes and then discuss what would go well with the main dish they select. They then use cook books and the internet to research new recipes.
Once the menu for next week’s class is decided, a shopping list is made. Items are divided up and each person gets their own personal list of groceries to bring to next week’s class.
“We always plan to make enough food so each person gets to take leftovers home to eat the next day,” says Fraser. “We also like to try new things. Some of the meals we prepare here are a little more difficult to make so the skills they learn will benefit them when cooking at home.”