A DIETITIAN would probably have no difficulty in arranging and preparing for a cooking school. However, because the responsibility often falls on a nurse or other person untrained in this specialized field, there are many features which are difficult to visualize in advance.
I. SELECTION OF MATERIAL.—The lecture material to be presented should be selected with the thought in mind that the audience is probably much less informed on diet and nutrition than are our own people. Our lay people who attend come to refresh their knowledge and to get new ideas, so simplicity should be the keynote in both the preparation and the presentation.
An up-to-date book on nutrition by a recognized authority, our denominational cookbooks, and Spirit of prophecy material are essential sources. A current book that can be highly recommended is the Science of Nutrition by Henry C. Sherman of Columbia University, a recognized United States authority. A list of other source material is given at the end of this article.
The Life and Health department has compiled a list* that includes charts and articles which can be obtained free or at low cost. Some of these are useful for display and for distribution as well as for content.
A file of usable material can be made up by watching and selecting articles from the Life and Health magazine. These are especially good because they are written by specialists for lay readers.
Pertinent quotations can be kept on 3 by 5 index cards, and can thus be fitted in anywhere in the lectures.
If at all possible, time should be allowed in advance for preparation of the lecture, for the selection of the recipes to be used, and for the mimeographed material which is to be distributed.
The arrangement and length of the material will be governed by the number of lessons to be given.
2. ASSISTANCE.—Even in conducting a small cooking school, assistance is necessary alonoseveral lines. The preparation of the food, usliering, distribution of material, as well as the demonstrations call for more than one person. Inquiry will usually reveal several talented and cooperative members who enjoy cooking and who will enjoy helping. In the recent Pittsburgh cooking school six local women assisted by preparing the food in quantity, which was distributed as samples of the demonstration.
The roast and soup can be prepared several hours before serving. Salads, coffee substitutes, et cetera, can be prepared just before and during the lecture, but it is always wise to allow ample time.
Large trays were set up at the Pittsburgh demonstration, with five-inch paper plates, paper forks, souffle cups for soup, and larger cups for the coffee substitute. The Bible instructors in an effort can contribute by arranging for usherettes and working with them in ushering, in directing the distribution of the mimeographed material, and in serving the food.
To facilitate the demonstration, one may set up a tray with all the necessary ingredients of the recipe. If more than one food is to be prepared, an associate may carry out one of the demonstrations.
3. FOOD SAMPLES.—One nutritionist has well said that the American diet has been found to consist largely of meat, potatoes, and bread, The Adventist type of diet differs greatly, both in the variety of foods and in the methods of preparation. Consequently, to interest the people enough to experiment with the recipes at home, it is almost essential to have them taste the foods that are demonstrated.
If the group is large, the amount given need not be very large—a teaspoonful of roast or potpie, a quarter of a cutlet, or two or three ounces of soup are enough to give one an idea of whether or not the foods are palatable.
4. DISPLAYS.—Various types' of displays can be used effectively. An expensive, but perhaps most effective, one is the actual foods to show which contain the food values that are being discussed. When meat versus more healthful protein is the subject, the display may feature the daily protein requirements as supplied by natural foods. The Homemakers' Cookbook has such a list. Other methods of impressing the lesson may be the use of charts or slides in place of the actual foods.
5. THE TIME.—The selection of an appropriate hour for a cooking school is a major item, in order to accommodate as large a group as is interested in attending.
It would seem that the evening is the best time. Mothers can usually arrange for the care of the children then, and those who go to business during the day are able to avail themselves of the opportunity.
6. INTEREST-CREATING ITEMS.—Variety and interest can be created by using an occasional original item. One which unexpectedly was very effective at the Pittsburgh cooking school was the assignment to compile a list of vegetables. The list in itself was secondary, for the real purpose was to draw the attention of the people to the possibilities of a selection of a greater variety of vegetables, as well as variety in food-value essentials.
On the evening that we studied minerals and demonstrated vegetable salads, Richard Barron, the singing evangelist, demonstrated the making of mayonnaise. This presented an opportunity to point out that men as well as women should know how to prepare food.
If there is ample time, help, and money, it is ideal to serve a buffet dinner, using the various recipes which have been used during the course. It is written, "One example is worth many precepts." Thus actually eating what has been demonstrated will encourage the use of the new knowledge.
Bogert, L. Jean, Nutrition and Physical Fitness, W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
Borsook and Huse, Vitamins for Health, Silver Burdett Co., New York, N.Y., 1942. (Pamphlet, ten cents.)
Dittes, Frances L., Food for Life, Associated Lectures, Inc., Madison, Tenn., 1935.
A Nutrition Guide (15-page pamphlet), General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.
Nutrition Charts, Research Department, H. J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh 12, Pa., 1946.
Sherman, Henry C., The Science of Nutrition, Columbia University Press, New York, N.Y., 1943.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tables of Food Composition, Miscellaneous Public, No. 572, Washington, D.C., 1945.
Vitamin and Mineral Information, Department of Public Services, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. (Large chart available to teachers and dietitians.)
Walton, H. M., M.D., Outline and Brief Discussion of the Essentials of an Adequate Diet, General Conference Medical Department, 1944.