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NMSU Rio Arriba County agent teaches Men Making Meals cooking classes

OHKAY OWINGEH PUEBLO ? Many men are accomplished cooks, but others can?t make much beyond a grilled cheese sandwich. ?Men Making Meals? cooking program could help both types.


Woman cooking with two men watching
NMSU Rio Arriba County family and consumer science agent Desaree Jimenez cuts shortening into flower while making pie dough while Brian Aquino, left, and Richie Chavez watch during a Men Making Meals cooking class at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

New Mexico State University?s Cooperative Extension Service in Rio Arriba County and the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo wellness center provided an opportunity for men to gain cooking knowledge or improve their skills during the four-week program.

?Through our diabetes program for our tribal members, I conduct cooking demonstrations,? said Sharon Gerena, the pueblo?s certified diabetes educator. ?One gentleman, a bachelor, said he would love to have a cooking class, so I asked Desaree Jimenez with NMSU?s Rio Arriba County office if she would teach it.?

?It was fun ? we had four to five men at the classes, which allowed them to do the cooking,? said Jimenez, an NMSU family and consumer sciences agent. ?I taught them basic cooking skills, including nutrition label-reading and meal-planning using the USDA My Plate serving requirements, focusing on the amount of each food group they need to eat during a day.?

Each class, the men would prepare three recipes of northern New Mexico cuisine.

Several of the participants had cooked, but had a limited knowledge of recipes. Each learned new skills, such as how to cut shortening into the flour to make fluffy pie crusts.

?I wanted to cook new things,? Richie Chavez said.

?I thought it would be good to learn new recipes,? Brian Aguino said. ?I?ve learned to make a couple of dishes I had not made before. I?ve benefited from this class.?

?I cook all of the time, but I?ve learned some new things,? said Frank Trujillo.

?We may offer the class again for those who missed the first one,? Gerena said. ?The gentleman who spearheaded this class had a family health issue that to help with in Albuquerque, so he was unable to attend.?