CHARLES TOWN — Fifteen clients and residents came together in a conference room at Jefferson County Community Ministries last week and sat down to a 10-course family dinner they prepared and cooked from scratch with fresh healthy ingredients.
Dr. Madison Humerick, a family medicine specialist, coordinates the “Cooking with the Docs” programat the ministry with Dr. Rosemarie Lorenzetti.
Both physicians work in the family medicine clinic in Harpers Ferry.
Humerick splits her time between the clinic, Jefferson Memorial Hospitaland
teaching WVU medical students in Morgantown on how to prepare, cook and eat healthy foods so they can pass it on to their patients.
Humerick also keeps tabs on the ministry’s food bank to ensure that donated food meets her criteria for healthy ingredients.
Humerick learned about the cooking with docs program in 2016 at a conference in Flatwoods, W.Va, for representatives from food banks and pantries.
She learned that staffers in food banks and pantries often threw out fresh
vegetables “because they didn’t want to or didn’t know how to cook them. They used canned vegetables instead.”
Humerick reached out to the ministry about establishing a cooking with the docs program. It partners with staff from the WVU Medicine Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health. The goal is ensuring that healthy food is donated to the food bank that serves the agency’s clients.
The ministry’s first monthly cooking with the docs event was held January 2017 with Humerick, chef Scott Anderson and Lorenzetti. At first the team cooked and the clients watched. Later clients began cooking themselves much like they did last week.
In last week’s cooking with the docs session 10 recipes were spread out on tables and flat surfaces with clients trying to complete the recipes in the allotted half-hour.
Chef Bryan Hughes demonstrated baking and frying trout then walked among the class sharing his knowledge, offering encouragement and shortcuts and explaining how a menu can be nutritious, healthy and tasty.
Everyone except the little children pitched in washing, peeling, cubing and
cutting up vegetables.
“It’s a hands-on, learning process,” Hughes said.
Humerick chose the recipes with healthy ingredients. Among them were (three with Thanksgiving in mind) —pumpkin deviled eggs, pumpkin pie fruit dip andpumpkin curry soup. The class also created low carb cauliflower mac and cheese, sweet potato fritters with yogurt sauce, holiday rice pudding, stevia whipped sweet taters and citrus cabbage slaw.
When the food was cooked those who made it sat down together to enjoy a very healthy dinner.
“We spent $100 to buy food that fed 20 people,” Humerick said.
According to WVU Medicine, West Virginia is first in the nation for obesity and second for diabetes, both of which disproportionately affect populations with lower income and food security.