Cooking aficionados might remember “Yan Can Cook” back in the 1980s. The Orange County Office for the Aging recently completed its own version of the cooking show, “Men Can Cook,” held at Munger Cottage. The six-week program was only open to male senior citizens.
“We decided to take men for the program because traditionally their wives would cook for them,” said nutrition program director Kevin Monaghan. “One of the things that qualify men for the program is their spouse may have cooked for them their entire life and now their spouse is sick, passed on and they don’t know how to cook and can’t fend for themselves. They end up eating TV dinners and prepared foods. We wanted to take a group of men and teach them some basic cooking skills and show them some dishes they may not have been exposed to in the past.”
The first class, held at Thomas Bull Park, had eight participants. The remaining classes were held at Munger Cottage and had six participants in the second class and five in the remainder.
The level of the classes were geared toward people who at least knew how to move around the kitchen and had some basic cooking knowledge. The meals prepared in class, such as pasta primavera with cream sauce, vegetarian sloppy joes, and crustless cheese quiche, took the chefs-in-training out of their comfort zone.
The chefs mainly cooked for themselves, but the last class saw them prepare a meal for about 50 guests – including 35 senior citizens, dignitaries, and Shoprite representatives.
Ashley Shaw, nutritionist and dietician expert at the Vails Gate Shoprite reviewed all the menus and made healthy alterations to make sure the seniors were preparing a well balanced meal which included protein, a starch item, a fruit and vegetable.
The class will be held again, but locations have not been determined.
In late September/early October, the Office for the Aging is planning a Women can Fix it class to teach women how to do simple jobs around the house such as fixing a screen or changing the storm windows.