Nutrition Coalition hosts cooking demo
Gila River Indian News
he Community’s Nutrition Coalition hosted an in-person Indigenous Foods cooking demo Sat. Sept. 10, where 12 participants learned how to prepare “Hannam” or cholla buds in two recipes.
Rene Jackson, District 5, served as the workshop instructor. She guided everyone on how to prepare a spring salad and beef and chili stew with cholla buds.
“I think it’s important to learn how to cook these foods because it’s a lot of good healing, being in Community with people, feeding people, and learning from others when they come to the class,” said Jackson. This class was her fourth cooking demonstration this year, and she’s happy to share what she’s learned with everyone attending.
Jackson mentioned how cholla buds and many other natural plants and cactus fruits are nutritionally rich and low on the glycemic index. She said this is an important point for those with type-2 diabetes and can also help prevent diabetes it in those who don’t.
Many of these plants can be harvested locally, depending on the weather. An added benefit of gathering these items yourself is that it requires you to walk about the desert, which provides healthy activity and physical exercise.
“I think these classes are awesome because when people see it and smell the cholla buds it brings back so many memories for people. They recall their parents or elders cooking them and these classes give them a chance to learn that for themselves,” said Mallory Smith, Tribal Health Dept.’s Community Health Nutritionist. “Cooking these kinds of foods instantly brightens up everyone, it’s nice to see, and I’m happy to bring these classes for the Community.”
Everyone that attended prepared the two dishes and received an apron and recipe list. They also received a bag filled with all the ingredients from the demo to prepare the dishes at home.
Smith organized the cooking demo on behalf of the Nutrition Coalition. She helped prepare the ingredients for the workshop at the Tribal Health Dept. kitchen. Before this class, she oversaw all the virtual cooking demos that occurred throughout the year.
Community members make up the Nutrition Coalition and help plan activities, and workshops that they feel are important regarding food and nutrition needs. In the past, they’ve hosted food demos using other traditional foods and gardening workshops.
The Nutrition Coalition is planning more in-person cooking demos in the future. Their next cooking class will feature a prickly pear jamming class and baking classes later this Fall.