Comfort Food, holiday food, cultural food and gourmet food — can you guess the common theme? It is not the weather, but the other universal conversation starter: food!
As a common denominator, food is an excellent icebreaker that holds no barriers. As someone who enjoys cooking and working with seniors in Whistler, I have been able to ask many experts about their favourite meal or memory around food.
Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) hosts a Community Kitchen program where individuals are able to participate in a fun, interactive cooking class while learning how to prepare healthy and delicious meals.
Need something fresh? Tired of cooking those staple meals? Have you ever thought of trying to cook something outside of your comfort zone? WCSS is partnering with the Whistler Multicultural Network (WMN) to provide an opportunity to cook from a different culture.
On Tuesday, Jan. 28, the theme will be Traditional Japanese Cooking, presented by a Japanese chef with the WMN. In this class, you will be making a beef and tofu stew, spinach goma-ae and ginger rice. The second class we have scheduled on Feb. 2 will feature Traditional Chinese Cooking to ring in the Chinese New Year. 2014 is the Year of the Horse. A Chinese chef with the WMN will be leading the group through the making of jiaozi, Chinese dumplings.
This is one of the major foods eaten during Chinese New Year and year-round. Each family has its own preferred method of making jiaozi, using favourite fillings, with types and methods of preparation varying widely from region to region. Typically, they consist of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough.
I have been a participant at some of the WMN Community Kitchens and it is a fun learning environment where the chef is able to share a piece of their culture and generate discussion. It was a great experience to watch how simple ingredients were crafted and created into something so tasty, with lots of opportunity to ask questions about the meal.
As the finishing touches come together for the dishes, everyone moves to the large table to eat together. The conversations that are generated out of this gathering vary from shared experiences, cultural rituals and a sense of community.
“The Whistler Multicultural Network aims to inform and support Whistler’s growing number of immigrants, but also to build connections into the local community,” said Carole Stretch, WMN program manager. “Food touches everything important to who we are as people, and in every culture food creates opportunities for social interaction, exchange and bonding.
“So what better way for locals to meet and connect with immigrants to Whistler than over a meal? WMN members are excited to be able to share their culture and stories through food and the WCSS Community Kitchens.”
If you’re tired of your same old meals, need something outside of your comfort zone or want to get out and meet someone new, come try a Community Kitchens Class. You may be surprised at what you take away.
Did you Know?
One class is $10 or a five-time pass is $40. Subsidies are available if you are financially restricted; all inquiries are confidential. Classes are held at the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Social Services Centre (1519 Spring Creek Dr.) at 6 p.m. Parking is limited, so consider car pooling or taking the bus. Contact Sara at 604-935-7717 or email email@example.com to book your spot. Please sign up before 10 a.m. on the day of the class to ensure your spot.