Youth group learns to love vegetables, and cook them

One of the best things that can happen during a Vision Team is when people find ways to share their skills and talents with Common Hope children and families.

Lia Huber is a well-respected chef from California, so we were very pleased when she offered to teach a cooking class for our youth program’s regular cooking and baking group. While the kids most often bake cakes and other desserts, Lia was interested in teaching ways to incorporate more vegetables into their diet.

Lia’s goal with all of her cooking is to find recipes that are healthy and also delicious, so people eat vegetables because they enjoy them. Lia found that the barriers to eating nutritious foods in Guatemala don’t differ much from those she encounters in the U.S. These include limited time to cook, inability to afford fresh foods, and her personal favorite, the impression that kids don’t like vegetables. Still, she was determined to show that vegetables can be delicious and not too complicated to prepare.

During the class, Lia gave a mini lecture on being mindful of diet (“do you feel energized after you eat a bag of chips?”) and basic nutrition (“the micronutrients that make vegetables look so beautiful and smell so strong and taste so wonderful are exactly what make them so good for you too”). Then, she worked with the kids to make caramelized squash and onions and sautéed Swiss chard with toasted garlic.

To Lia’s joy, the kids loved the food — they polished off every last bite. One teen said he didn’t like onions at the beginning of the class. By the end, he was eating the caramelized onions out of the pan.

The following day, it was even more clear Lia’s class had made an impression. At the Vision Team’s farewell ceremony, one of the boys who was clearly a leader gave a moving speech as he thanked Lia for teaching them. Another girl who Lia says was quite shy during the class approached her and proudly declared she used her new knife skills cutting potatoes that morning. Many thanks to Lia for sharing her skills and passion with us!

You can find Lia’s recipe for melted squash on her website, Nourish Network.

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