“I have been a diabetic since I was eight years old,” says Tifani, a South Atlanta resident and mom of four. “And a few months ago, my doctor took me off of my medication. I am diabetes free thanks to this cooking class.”
She is a participant in the Carver Market Cooking Classes in partnership with Georgia Food Oasis and Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation. Each week, classes meet to explore cooking fresh, healthy meals utilizing new vegetables and diverse herbs and spices. Tifani got involved after seeing a flyer for the classes. “A friend encouraged me,” she says. “I love to cook, and they thought I would enjoy it.”
The biggest takeaway for Tifani has been learning to cook unfamiliar vegetables in delicious ways. “I’d never eaten things like asparagus or brussel sprouts before I took this class. And even some vegetables I’d tried before, like zucchini, they taught me how to cook them in ways I like.” She says she’s moved almost completely away from canned vegetables in favor of fresh or frozen options.
One hope of the class in to encourage healthier eating habits for families. And Tifani admits she was nervous her kids wouldn’t like the new veggie-focused meals she was learning to cook. The teaching chef encouraged her to give it a try and promised the kids would learn to like the food. “That’s exactly what happened,” Tifani says. She came home from class and recreated a new food she’d learned - “Tuna Boats” - which includes tuna and cucumbers. She says her son wolfed down three and now always reminds her to pick up the ingredients at the grocery. It’s his go-to after school snack.
When her kids are hesitant, Tifani hosts home blind taste tests. She made vegetable soup and a meat-based soup and then blindfolded her children before tasting. Three of the four preferred the vegetable soup based on their taste buds alone when they couldn’t prejudge the veggie-filled soup.
She also loves the vegetable-packed quesadilla she learned to make in the class, which incorporates sauteed kale and spinach. “I can’t have dairy,” Tifani says, “so I make the quesadillas with cheese and vegetables for the kids and just vegetables for myself. But I rarely get to eat it because the kids come and take mine, too!” She is proud to share that her kids are eating way more vegetables than before.
Tifani also says she buys all her groceries at Carver Market. Before, her family took the bus to go grocery shopping, but she was amazed to learn that she could get fresh vegetables, coffee, and other groceries right across the street.
We are so excited to hear how Tiffany has been impacted by Carver Market and the cooking classes. We celebrate when we hear kids are trying new vegetables, a mom has been able to stop taking medication, and a family is eating healthier in the neighborhood.