A Successful First Cooking Class

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Donovan Williams
The Gaukler Family Wellness Center hosted their first cooking class last Friday. The room was full of interested people, greeted by instructor Sue Milender Toppen from the NDSU Extension Services. She was aided by the Wellness Center Facility Manager Ali Keller.
As Keller stated before, these classes are geared towards people who wish to find healthier meal options. "We're going to teach people to utilize things they already have so they aren't spending a ton of money to create a new dish," Keller said. "Like subbing hamburger for turkey, for instance. They will customize their creations to their own dynamic needs."
Friday night’s focus was a delicious Romaine Lettuce Salad, cooked with ingredients that help with weight loss such as beans, chopped tomatoes, limes, and other toppings that people were able to add to their creation.
People among the crowd also participated while Toppen went through her instructions. She had a humorous approach to teaching. There were a lot of laughs and she built their confidence well, proving that she was someone who can easily go one-on-one with whomever she teaches, making a fun activity for everyone. She also encourages more people to come out to the classes and keep an open mind about the benefits of making this kind of food.
“Making a nutritious meal can be fun, easy, and quick,” Toppen said as everyone helped themselves after the night’s lesson. “And it is also affordable for everyone.”
Everyone who participated in the class got to leave with a recipe card featuring neat facts about the key ingredients of the salad. These included details like beans how reduce heart disease or how romaine lettuce is low in fiber while being high in precious minerals like calcium, phosphorus, or magnesium.
The next cooking class will be on February 13th where participants will learn how to make a healthy casserole at 11:30 a.m. Toppen and Keller explained that this will not always be the time frame, but that by utilizing different times, they can reach out to multiple audiences, both the morning and night people. Admission will again be $3 for wellness members and $5 for non-members. Keller has also said that, depending on the successes of these first classes, there could very well be more to come. And judging by the impressive turnout, it is likely there will be many more classes in the near future at the Gaukler Family Wellness Center. For further information people may contact Keller at (701) 845-3294.

Donovan Williams/Times Record
Instructor Sue Milender Toppen from the Barnes County NDSU Extension teaches the attendees what makes the foods in question so special and shows ways for them to be properly cleaned before eating.