It might sound too good to be true, but one of the most effective ways to improve your diet is simply to cook more at home with whole foods. The strategy is so unadorned, so not a part of the diet fad industry that “just cook at home” can seem easy to dismiss. But studies have shown this everyday practice naturally lowers the salt, fat, and sugar intake of meals and can lead to healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.
The plain power of from-scratch home cooking is at the very heart of an exciting new teaching kitchen that Groundwork has been collaborating on behind the scenes for more than two years.
The Teaching Kitchen is part of our soon-to-be new home in the Commongrounds Cooperative, and it will allow us to spread the skills and gospel of cooking with nutritious, locally grown foods throughout our community—using ideas, science, and know-how curated through our culinary medicine program.
We are in the midst of a fundraising campaign for an extraordinary community teaching kitchen that would be connected to a new, smaller-footprint office for Groundwork in the Commongrounds Cooperative. Just 1/5th the size of our current office, it represents the organization’s future with a decentralized presence statewide and a more home-based, sustainable way of working. Learn more.
In keeping with the cooperative structure of Commongrounds, the teaching kitchen will be open for a number of community partners and a wide range of students. For its part, Groundwork will focus initial efforts on teaching to the health care community—physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and others—so they can in turn teach local food home-cooking strategies and skills to their patients.
That culinary medicine focus grew from a market/feasibility study conducted for us by a team of graduate students from the Ross Business School, at University of Michigan. “One of the important findings was that we can have the greatest impact in connecting food to health through training medical professionals,” says Meghan McDermott, Groundwork Program Director.
“The health care community has really embraced this,” says Groundwork Executive Director Hans Voss. “They see the long-term value of teaching culinary skills, but they don’t have the place to teach or even yet know how to teach those skills.”
The right kitchen tools paired with a set of skills makes cooking easier, faster and more fun—and more likely to make the “cook at home tonight” choice happen.
Nationwide, the culinary medicine/teaching kitchen philosophy began shortly into the new millennium with Dr. David Eisenberg, Director of Culinary Nutrition and Adjunct Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He wanted the medical profession to better understand and harness the health benefits of cooking with whole, nutrient-dense foods. He also wanted physicians in particular to see how cooking skills learned in a supportive teaching kitchen environment were central to increasing healthy cooking habits culturewide. He launched the annual Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives medical conference and leads the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative.
“Dr. Eisenberg wanted to help people learn life skills that got lost,” says Paula Martin, Groundwork Community Nutrition Specialist. “Things li