Cooking dinner

Essential life skills: Cooking 101

The old saw states: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” In reality, it doesn’t matter how a person gets fish if they don’t know how to cook it!

The Westview team sees cooking as a fundamental life skill for a young man. These fundamental life skills  include cooking, laundry, ironing, yard care, and cleaning. None of those skills are gendered because men need to be able to do them as competently as women. This is particularly important when considering that most of our young men begin their adult life as single adults.

Angelene Garrett makes time and space for each young man coming into her home to learn to cook. In the photo above, Levi is learning how to take a basic thing like a potato and make it into a flavorful and satisfying dish. Not only was he successful, he learned that he can share responsibility for everyone at the table feeling well fed.

Poverty can interfere with this. Westview’s executive director, Ron Bruner, has told the Westview team about the experience his mother, Molly, had with cooking. When Molly was a teenager, her mother wouldn’t let her cook. She told Molly, “I don’t have the money for you to waste any food learning!” So when Molly married, her husband Gordon taught her how to cook. Ron clearly remembers his mother learning how to cook new dishes throughout his young life. The truth is that cooking is something you keep learning throughout your lifetime.

One of the resilient aspects of cooking is that you can eat your mistakes (usually)! Every time a person cooks a dish, though, they learn something while acquiring confidence in their ability to do it. Westview is thankful for the resources that we have that empower us to make these life-learning experiences possible for our young men!