Well done, friends!
When Dave and I cooked up the idea of Well Fed, we decided that we wanted to donate $1 for every PDF sold to an organization that teaches kids about healthy food. As usual, when I asked you, my fabulous readers, for suggestions, you totally came through with great ideas. We ultimately chose Common Threads because their mission does for kids what we hoped to do for adults with Well Fed: “Our mission is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. “
Thanks to you and your purchases of Well Fed PDFs, we just sent our donation for the first quarter of 2012 to Common Threads…
A lot of cool things have happened for Dave and I since Well Fed was released, but this milestone is the one that makes me feel like I’m busting the buttons off my shirt with pride. Since we chose Common Threads as the organization we wanted to support, I’ve learned even more about their work, and I’m so impressed and delighted with how they fulfill their mission.
About Common Threads
Common Threads offers after-school cooking classes for kids between 8 and 12 years old in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The 10-week program is free to students who qualify for free or reduced school lunches.
Chefs from local restaurants teach the students basic kitchen skills, cooking techniques, and the importance of fresh ingredients. And here’s the best part: they prepare healthy, international cuisine together. Every session includes nutrition tips and cultural info to “teach our students how to connect with their bodies, their neighbors, and their world in a healthy way.”
No lie: my eyes just welled up as I typed that.
How awesome is that?!
In a recent Miami Herald article, a chef and a student talked about their Common Threads class:
Julie Frans is the signature chef of Essensia and is a volunteer for Common Threads.
“One of my favorite things to do with the kids is I love playing up the raw products, what does this do for your body? Celery. What does it remind you of? A bone. Celery has calcium, good for strong bones. Cauliflower looks like the brain and it’s good for the brain.”
Mayrin Canales is a 10-year-old fifth grader (and is after my heart).
“What I like about class is all the different experiences. We usually cook foods from different countries and I actually feel I’m in that part of the country we are cooking from. The food makes me feel a part of it.”
Here are a few stats about the effectiveness of the Common Threads program:
Common Threads’ students exhibited a 96% improvement in healthy food choices
70% of Common Threads’ students eat more fruits and vegetables
82% of Common Threads’ students limited their junk/fast food intake to one or fewer times per week
But the best might be the story a Common Threads staff member told me: A mom came to pick up her son from class, and she was about to go through a fast food drive-thru for dinner. But her son asked that she go to the grocery store instead so he could buy the ingredients to make the stew he’d learned in his Common Threads class. The little man bought the ingredients and made dinner for his mom.
Again with the tears.
Take a Look
Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to watch this video. The young boy explaining why grilling and baking are better options than frying is brilliant, and the little girl listing her favorite cuisines will give you warm fuzzies.
Win a Copy of Eat The World
UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Kathy, who wrote in her comment:
When I was a kid (in the mid-50’s), I’d cut up cheese in a sauce pan, heat it until it melted and some of the oil separated, then eat the more intensely flavored cheese. I was too young to be fat-phobic, just really liked the taste of cheese! Still do.
Around the same age, I’d use that same pan to melt butter and add Cheerios, stir until they soaked up the butter, then snack on them. Don’t judge me on the Cheerios – I was a kid!
Mom let me play in the kitchen. I put blue food coloring in my milk and she said it reminded her of rat poison (because of the color), but she let me do it anyway.
And I have a K-Bar knife that my grandfather used at the butcher counter in his grocery store. He died years before I was born, so the knife must be at least 70 years old (I’m 64).
Eat the World: Good-For-You Food for Families is an adorable, international cookbook filled with recipes that support the Common Threads mission. Proceeds from the sale of the cookbook are used for Common Threads classes — and I’m giving a copy to a lucky winner. The recipes aren’t all paleo, but they are (a) internationally delicious and (b) super cute. Plus, I’ll put post-it notes in the winner’s copy with tips for paleo-izing the recipes. For example, the recipe below is good-to-go if you swap the peanut butter out and replace it with Sunbutter or almond butter. Easy-peasy!
To enter: Become a fan of Common Threads on Facebook and/or follow Common Threads on Twitter, then post to comments letting me know which you did… along with the first food you learned to cook on your own as a kid. I suspect mine was scrambled eggs, but I was also a wizard with frozen pizza and kibbeh.
Deadline: Midnight, Friday, May 4. I’ll announce a winner on Monday, May 7.
Connect With Common Threads
If you live in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, or Washington, D.C., why not volunteer to help out at Common Threads?! And for the rest of us, we can help the organization by connecting online and helping them spread the word.
Common Threads Website
Executive Director Linda Novick O’Keefe’s bio and contributions to The Huffington Post
Buy the cookbook Eat the World: Food-For-You Food for Families (proceeds support Common Threads classes)
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