Every Thursday afternoon a delicious aroma wafts from the Literacy Alberni kitchens as 10-12 eager cooks learn how to make simple and budget-friendly yet nutritious meals.
And this time they have a special guest “chef” whose rice pilaf is cooking in the oven.
“The cooking of it went very well,” said Mayor John Douglas, before adding a caveat: “well it’s still in the oven, so we’ll see.”
The class is taught by Marjorie Jarrett, a Port Alberni resident who considers teaching this weekly two-hour long class to be a “zen vocation.”
“It’s so much fun,” she said of the program, which attracts both newcomers and repeats of varying skill levels.
“I think people can always learn and [this program] opens windows for people,” said Douglas, “and cooking is a really great skill to acquire.
“I like cooking but I’m really interested in healthy cooking, cooking from scratch instead of buying a microwave dinner or opening up a can,” said Jarett.
The class focuses on teaching participants to make a main meal with an emphasis on vegetables. Since novice cooks may not have or want to invest in much kitchen equipment, Jarrett focuses on meals that can be cooked up in a skillet.
“Quite a few people don’t have a lot of cooking equipment, they don’t have a stove with an oven, they don’t have pots and pans so we try to do minimal stuff. A cutting board, a knife and a skillet and there you go.”
Nutritional Literacy meets every Thursday from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. in the Literacy Alberni kitchens at 5100 Tebo Ave. The class is a drop-in.