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Lessons in Food Budgeting Help Family of Five

Photo - Candice Rich

A wife and mother of three children, Candice Rich was certain no one could tell her anything new about cooking and shopping. But a Cooking Matters™ class offered through her daughter’s Head Start program showed her new techniques for stretching her food dollars that made it more economical to feed her family.

Share Our Strength Cooking Matters courses, offered locally through Gleaners, teach families with limited resources how to budget for food, shop smartly,and cook nutritious, tasty meals. The program uses volunteer chefs and dieticians to teach the six-week curriculum.

“I never bought a package of whole grain spaghetti in my life. But Jacob [the chef instructor] demonstrated a recipe with whole grain spaghetti, and it was delicious.” Now, whole grain pasta is a staple in Rich’s cupboard.

Rich says that she had been trying to add more fiber to the family’s diet because her two-year-old was constipated. The new nutrition and cooking knowledge she learned through Cooking Matters made a difference in her daughter’s regularity.

Rich is more savvy now too. She buys a whole chicken and cooks it herself, instead of buying an already cooked rotisserie chicken. While she used to just “throw stuff in the buggy,” she now goes more prepared and can shop for five people with $20.

The whole family eats healthier and for less money today. The kids drink “Shrek juice,” smoothies with kale, and eat sandwiches on whole wheat pita bread.

Rich says her Cooking Matters cookbook has flour and sauce splattered on the pages, worn out from much use. She regularly shares the recipes with family and friends, spreading her new-found knowledge with others who can benefit.