Success StoryVirtual Cooking Program



Virtual Cooking Program

Author: Kenna Knight

Planning Unit: Pendleton County CES

Major Program: Nutrition and Food Systems General

Plan of Work: Promoting Health and Wellness from cradle to grave

Outcome: Long-Term Outcome

2020 offered many challenges for programs and program delivery.  In looking at ways to offer beneficial programs, the Pendleton County Family and Consumer Science Agent decided to offer virtual cooking classes.  The benefits from preparing meals at home are great.  You eat fewer calories without even realizing it, you are more mindful of what you are putting in your mouth, you socialize more as a family unit and you stimulate your brain.  These are just a handful of those benefits.   A total of seven virtual cooking classes have been offered to date with more scheduled in the future.  Classes offered included: Knife Safety, Healthy Twist on pizza crusts, Biscuit making, Pie Making, Soup class, Cast iron Class, and Hot Cross Buns.  A variety of skills were presenting during each of these session.    The average number of participants for each session was 75 and most individuals attended multiple sessions.

The following data has been collected from those participating in these programs:

  1. 23% were attending an Extension program for the first time showing broad reach
  2. Virtual aspect gave a broader reach – with almost 24% attending from nearby counties
  3. 70% have attended all seven programs offered
  4. 83% of recruitment came from Extension Newsletter and Facebook
  5. 40% of the group were first time user of zoom
  6. Respondents were able to attend the program with friends and family –many participated with their kids and the age range of kids (3 to 18) with an average age of kid being 9

 

Data collected also revealed the following skills were learned:

  1. Felt more confident using zoom or attending virtual programs.
  2. Felt more confident in the kitchen.
  3. Tried something new or used a new recipe ingredient
  4. Knife skills have improved
  5. Shared new cooking skills and recipes with others
  6. Prepared more meals at home
  7. Increased family meals together

One individual shared: The knife skills class was super beneficial. I learned several techniques for using my knives more efficiently AND that was the first time I had ever experienced cutting up a whole chicken. I also enjoyed learning to make a pie crust from scratch—I definitely have gained confidence in the kitchen with each of these classes!

Another shared: I have learned something new in every one of the classes.  “The saying is correct “you are never too old to learn.”  Specifics that I can remember are listed:  1. learned to peel garlic.  2. Peel and chunk mango. 3. Uses of different flours. 4. Importance of measuring correctly 5. Using cast iron Dutch oven with parchment paper to bake bread. 6. Use of food processor in pie making.

Participants offered shared why they enjoy the classes as virtual:

One participant noted: I have small children and am not able to attend as many in person events because of them. The cooking from home virtual lessons made it easy for me and my children to participate in the classes! I’m not sure I would have ever signed up if they were on location but the convenience of the virtual format has gotten me much more involved!

2020 gave us no choice on preparing more meals at home.  The Pendleton County Extension Service is hoping the continuance of virtual home cooking classes will keep their love for preparing meals at home and reaping the many health and social benefits that come from home cooked meals.






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