Written by Olivia Barrera

During the past 10 months Cooking Matters has temporarily had to move to a more virtual capacity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t been safe to congregate in groups or, one of the cornerstone features of Cooking Matters, eat communally. In order to continue serving our community, we have been exploring creative ways to virtually engage our audience and volunteers.

The first virtual resource is the Cooking Matters YouTube account. This account has actually been in use since long before the pandemic but now is becoming more active. On this account you can find videos about knife safety, cooking tips, and recipe demonstrations. To see some of the cooking matters videos click here. See one of our YouTube videos below!

We’ve also started offering virtual Cooking Matters classes. These are presented via Zoom and come in the form of our classic 6-week series as well as newly released modules which can be one-time evets or grouped by preference of host site. Topics for the new modules include Drink to Your Health, Money Saver Alert, Kids Say Yes to Fruits and Veggies, and more! If your school or organization is interested in scheduling a Cooking Matters at Home class, please reach out to our scheduling supervisor Katie Body via email: Virtual volunteer opportunities are as follows: culinary instructor; nutrition instructor; and class assistant. To volunteer for one of these roles please check this link. To sign up for a new volunteer orientation check here and for seasoned Cooking Matters volunteers, we have a new training on how to engage participants in virtual presentations, sign up here. Volunteer opportunities are uploaded periodically so if you don’t see anything at this time, be sure to check back!

Facebook Live events are a great ways to reach our participants which we began incorporating during the pandemic. Staff members discuss a topic pertinent to Cooking Matters, usually regarding cooking or nutrition, or give a cooking demonstration. Follow us on Facebook to keep up with these free events! We are Cooking Matters Detroit on Facebook. Facebook Live is also a platform that we have used to reach participants with our 6-week series Cooking Matters program.

Another way to keep up with what’s happening at Cooking Matters is to follow us on Instagram! We are @cookingmattersdetroit. Here you will find nutrition tips, fun facts, time-saving methods, recipes, and more!

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We have also used technology to connect with Gleaners program participants via text message. Weekly tips about nutrition, budgeting, and healthy recipes go out to a group of over 70 recipients and food distribution updates to over 200! If you or someone you know would like to sign up for nutrition tips, please text: healthyeats to (833) 956-1009. We are also sharing details about mobile emergency food distributions via text, these are drive-up events across Southeast Michigan for community members to pick up supplemental food without ever leaving their cars (COVID-19 precautions are being taken). If you need those updates, please text gcfbmobiles to (833) 956-1009. For State of Michigan emergency food and housing resources, text your zip code to 898-211, dial 211, or call the Food & Other Resources Hotline at 1-888-544-8773.

Our newest platform is TikTok. We launched the Cooking Matters Detroit TikTok page, @cookingmattersdetroit, at the end of January! The page focuses on recipe videos ranging from Cooking Matters classics to new healthy recipes from the content creators. All of the videos have captions in English and Spanish. The Cooking Matters staff are creating all TikTok content at this time. See the Cooking Matters recipes we are planning to share (so far):

Black Bean Brownies
Fruit Smoothies
Black Bean and Vegetable Quesadillas

Noodles with Peanut Sauce

The Works Pizza
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

 For more videos supporting healthy lifestyles, see the Michigan Fitness Foundation’s YouTube page.

We hope you enjoy our content and it inspires you to get cooking! If you make any of the recipes we share, let us know what you think.