S.O.L. Food Classes – Series #1


My goal is to offer interesting, fun, honest, delicious, fact-finding classes, hands-on workshops, events, tastings, cooking experiences, recipe sharing, shopping experiences, stories and pictures to bring us ALL to a new level of being better educated, informed and relaxed consumers. Planning meals and menus, shopping and preparing food should not be difficult or frustrating. Are you feeling like you want to do the right thing? Make changes? Make more informed and informed decisions when it comes to the food that you are buying? Have you made changes and ready to move to the next level?

Do you want to plan your meals and menus using healthy food, organic food, food with less processing, food that’s from local farmers, food that’s better for the environment, food that is the most nutritious? Do you have a time crunch and live a busy life? What’s convenient for you? What’s economical for you? What food preferences, allergies, health concerns, sensitivities or ethical concerns do you have? Are you a label reader and confused? Are you looking for easy to understand, honest and ethical information and answers? Do you want to be able to relax and enjoy meal planning, shopping and cooking more? When you are shopping at the farmers market, roadside stand and grocery store or even online do you know what to ask, what to look for and don’t you want to be assured that you are getting what you paid for and expect?

This series of three classes will be held on three consecutive Monday’s in November, 6-8:30 p.m. at Local Chef Kitchen in Ballwin MO.

The price includes a light meal, or tastings and samples & beverage.

Class 1 - "S.O.L. Food 101, The Basics"

Monday, Nov. 5

(includes soup, salad, corn muffin, and beverage)

Would you like to incorporate more Sustainable food, more Organic Food and more Local food into your menus and meals? Do you need to do ALL three? Can you pick just one? What do they all mean and how would you prioritize? What’s your cooking style? Are you a planner? Do you need recipes? The first class of the series will start with the basics. I have learned over the last year as I have started speaking and presenting to a number of diverse groups, that the basics can be quite different from person to person.

Food purchased at conventional grocery stores from conventional food manufacturers following federal guidelines has so much confusing and misleading information on the label. Food purchased at farmers markets directly from the producer has little to no labels, ingredient list or expiration dates. How do we as consumers decide? How do we know? Traceability in our entire food system is important. Knowing how to decipher food labels is important. What questions should a customer ask a farmer at the market to ensure they are buying what they want? Organic. Local. Pastured. Sustainable. All Natural. Grass Fed. Seasonal. Let’s talk about eggs. How about those expiration dates on food labels. What does farmstead mean? Fair Trade, is that important to you?

Bringing a little S.O.L. into your home will be our topic for the first class.

Class 2 - "Taste and See"

Monday, Nov. 12

(includes a variety of tastings and beverage)

During the second class of the series, participants will experience the difference in foods by tasting, touching, smelling and visual comparisons. Guest farmers and producers will be in this class to give firsthand accounts of production methods and answer questions. We will cover important differences in food that is grown in healthy, living, nutritious soil using sustainable and regenerative practices as opposed to more conventional farming.

Sometimes people ask me what the difference is in the organic grocery store food and the organically produced food at the farmers market. Or they will tell me about farmer raised meat or eggs or veggies that they found at a local grocery store at a certain price point and ask what I think. Can I really taste a difference or notice a difference in local, seasonal farm fresh produce, meat, eggs, and other food items? YES! And, in this class, well find out together.

We will learn about eggs. The color of eggs, shell hardness, the viscosity of the egg yolks and whites as well as tasting eggs from chickens that were laid at a local farm compared to eggs from various grocery stores. Well look at the information on cartons and talk about what it all means. Well review the terms pastured, cage-free, organic, humanely raised and free range as related to laying hens. And last but not least, well discuss the nutrition of eggs and their versatility in cooking.

During this class, a variety of locally grown, seasonal produce will be brought in from producers in the area. Whatever is in season and has been harvested at the time of class is what you will see, taste and smell. Once again, there will be comparisons of non-local, shipped in produce that one can find at the local grocery store. Let’s see if we can notice any remarkable differences.

Various cuts of meats will be examined, cooked and tasted. Pork cuts, ground beef, chicken and perhaps some alpaca, lamb or goat! We will talk about animal husbandry which will include how the animals are raised, what they are fed, how they are processed and presented to the consumer at the farmers markets and grocery stores.

Class 3 - "Being Thankful Enjoying S.O.L Food during the holidays"

Monday, Nov. 19

(includes a light meal or a variety of samples and beverage)

The third week in the series will be the week of Thanksgiving. During this class, we will talk about your favorite recipes and holiday dishes and how they can become S.O.L. Food (if they aren’t already).

Are you a recipe follower? Do you use recipes for inspiration and add your own twists? Do you enjoy cooking or not? Do you find it challenging to get inspired and creative? Will your holiday meal be shared with others, potluck, catered, picked up from the grocery store? Are you, your kids and family picky eaters? Let’s talk about how to get inspired and creative and get some S.O.L. Food in our homes.

We will talk about what foods are grown and harvested in each season of the year. How to incorporate these fresh, seasonal, local foods into soups, salads and side dishes. Eating in season is delicious and nutritious. The fresh food is so beautiful and many times it lasts longer (believe it or not) than mass-produced, big Ag, conventionally grown fruits and veggies.

Eating in season, in the late fall and winter may seem challenging to many folks. Being creative, discovering new dishes and learning a few tips and tricks on simple food preservation will keep your meals and menus satisfying all year round.

Let’s celebrate our bounty and how food, in all seasons can nourish our bodies. We can create memories around the holidays and wintery weather and bring some S.O.L. into our lives.