Chef Helps Families on Food Assistance
Justen Regina Ries is a chef with 15 years of professional culinary experience. Volunteering with Cooking Matters is exactly how she wants to do her part to make the world a better place.
Why Cooking Matters…
What got me so interested in Cooking Matters programming is the education you offer to families receiving WIC and SNAP. I know the knowledge gaps that my friends and families have, who are middle class people with the benefit of sit-down family dinners every night.
I know that people used to go to college to major in home economics, and that doesn’t happen anymore. Yet somehow, we just expect people to have knowledge and capabilities around food without anyone teaching them.
It breaks my heart that we give families federal dollars for food without assisting them with the skills they need to spend those dollars in the most effective way.
On top of that, outsiders then judge these families for spending their SNAP dollars on junk foods without looking at the societal cycles of poverty and food influence that are playing out.
I feel that the need is great, and I want to use my superpowers for good.
The example I share with my friends is quinoa. If you can’t pronounce it, you aren’t likely to buy it or try it to see if your kids will eat it. If I can show you how to make it – how to flavor it maybe like Spanish rice – then your confidence is increased, intimidation might be reduced, and culturally it may be accepted by your family.