Feeding Hope: RC's Story

“Do you know how difficult it is to find a cooking teacher?”

RC leaned across the table in Second Harvest’s Volunteer Center, where he waited to be led back to The Kitchen for a cooking class.  He knows that learning how to cook is key to improving his health.

As you might expect of a former Hollywood background actor, RC is outgoing and confident.  He’ll gladly share his Jack Nicholson impression (very accurate!) with you and tell you about the stars he’s met.  But when it comes to the kitchen, he knows he has some learning to do.  That’s why he started attending The Kitchen’s Community Classes—weekly free nutrition and scratch-cooking classes open to all.

Fifty-six-year-old RC heard about the cooking classes from the MOVE! Weight Management Program—a health improvement program held at Spokane’s VA hospital.  He was inspired to join the program after learning his weight at a recent doctor’s appointment.  “I didn’t realize it had gotten that high,” he said.

RC has had success with weight loss before.  Several years ago, he lost a significant amount of weight—and he felt fantastic.  But five years ago, he threw out his back.  When it didn’t improve, he became depressed and turned to food to cope.

Once again inspired to lose weight and get healthy, RC knows there’s one thing that could prevent him from doing so: his lack of knowledge in the kitchen.  “My mom hated to cook, so she never forced her kids to learn.”  Growing up, he wasn’t exposed to a variety of foods because his mom kept meals very basic.  Now, he often turns to fast food, but he’s ready to change that.  RC says he has all the tools at home—pots, pans, etc.—he just needs the skills.

In just two classes in The Kitchen, RC has learned to dice an onion, wedge and roast potatoes, and cook spaghetti squash—a food he had never tried before but is excited about incorporating into meals at home.  “It’s too bad we don’t have more time,” he said, referring to the classes.

RC’s goal is to lose about 50 pounds next year.  He says the classes at The Kitchen at Second Harvest are a crucial step to reach that goal. Not only is he learning how to cook a variety of foods, but his confidence in the kitchen is improving.

For many, losing weight is a dreaded process—but not for RC.  He looks forward to coming to the classes—not just for what he’s learning but also for the people he’s meeting.  “I don’t get out a lot,” he said.  “I had a great time last week.  That’s why I’m here tonight.”  He said he felt like “the new kid on the block” in his first class, since many other participants had met in prior Community Classes.  RC looks forward to becoming one of the regulars.  With his friendly personality and commitment to learning to cook healthy meals, it’s just a matter of time.