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Oakmont library course serving up delicious, nutritious lessons

Michael DiVittorio
| Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 1:18 p.m.
Linda Batory of Penn Hills and Amy Moretti of West Deer stir chopped vegetables for a quesadilla.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Linda Batory of Penn Hills and Amy Moretti of West Deer stir chopped vegetables for a quesadilla.
Culinary instructor Ed Crist dices zucchini for a quesadilla during a healthy cooking class at Oakmont Carnegie Library.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Culinary instructor Ed Crist dices zucchini for a quesadilla during a healthy cooking class at Oakmont Carnegie Library.

Oakmont's Karen Jacobs wanted to find out how to make delicious and nutritious meals on a budget.

Which is why she signed up for a class at the Oakmont Carnegie Library designed to do just that.

"I'm always interested in learning how to eat in a more healthy way and cook in a more healthy way," Jacobs said.

Cooking Matter, a free weekly two-hour course will wrap up April 26. To participate in one of the remaining classes, call 412-828-9532.

The course is sponsored by the American Heart Association and presented Wednesday evenings by 412 Food Rescue, an East Liberty-based nonprofit with a mission to end food waste in Allegheny County.

Nutrition instructor Ciara Stehley, teacher Ed Crist and assistant Tina Tuminella lead the classes, which feature hands-on activities and cooking demonstrations.

"What we're trying to do is provide information that's going to help adults make better choices about what they're eating in their daily life," Crist said. "We give them an opportunity to look at recipes that perhaps they didn't look at before."

The class talked about how to interpret nutrition labels, to use a knife properly, meal preparation and storage and even split participants into groups to identify pros and cons of fresh, frozen and canned foods.

Pros of frozen and canned goods included longer shelf-life and they are processed at peak freshness. Cons included more higher sodium content and less taste than fresh produce.

"The primary goal was to encourage people to consume more types and servings of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet," Stehley said.

Different foods are prepared each week and classmates leave with a bag full of ingredients to make the meals at home.

Participants also toured a supermarket as part of the course.

Library Director Beth Mellor said having more health and wellness activities was a suggestion from library patrons via a survey.

"It's things the community has told us they wanted and that's part of why we're doing this," Mellor said. "If you're learning and enjoying yourself, that's the best kind of program."

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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