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Learning to make healthy and delicious meals

After a long day learning at school, it’s natural for kids to come home with hungry bellies. And there is nothing like a tasty, hot meal to end an active day. But if mum and dad are not at home yet, making something to eat can seem like a big challenge for a child. Being able to cook for yourself is an important skill and one that CCT teacher, Somarath, wanted the children at CCT’s Community Centre to have.

When teachers at CCT’s Community Centre were encouraged to come up with ideas to improve the Centre and lead their own project, Somarath eagerly submitted her detailed plan for a weekly cooking class.

“This way, if the children’s parents are not at home, they can cook for themselves,” she said.

“I come up with the recipes based on what is easy to make, and use ingredients that the children will often have at home and that are not expensive. The meals are also healthy and nourishing.”

So far Somarath and the children have made fried rice with omelet, rice porridge with chicken and vegetables and sweet green mung bean pudding.

The mung bean pudding was 11-year-old Makara’s* favourite dish to make in cooking class.

“It was delicious,” he said with a big grin.

“I have only cooked rice at home before but now I will make the new dishes that I’ve learnt.”

Every Friday afternoon kids from grades 1, 2 and 3 gather around a cooking station set up in the middle of the room, at the Community Centre, as Somarath demonstrates how to prepare the ingredients and turn them into a meal. Somarath and the kids all taste and enjoy the dish together. Then the children work in groups of three or four, with each group having a different role. One group prepares and mixes the ingredients, while another group cooks them and the other groups watch on.

Makara’s favourite part about the class is when he is in the group doing the cooking because, “that’s when I can learn a lot and also have fun making the food.”

Somarath has been working with CCT for four years, teaching grade 1 students language and maths. She was happy to add cooking classes into her schedule. Each week CCT Community Centre Coordinator, Sina, heads to the local markets to stock up on fresh ingredients, ready for the children to prepare.

Learning practical skills like cooking is all part of becoming independent and growing up to be a healthy adult.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.