Library cooking up new program

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When you grow fresh veggies, you like to eat them.

That’s basically the whole idea.

So, when beautiful produce comes from the community garden, you tend to get inspired.

The year we started the community garden our staff tried something called The Sophomore Café. We alternated weeks, and when it was your turn, you had to feature a fresh veggie from the garden in a tasty recipe that was easy to prepare.

I remember we made jalapeno poppers, herb-rubbed pork tenderloin, panzanella salad, gazpacho and cucumber tea sandwiches.

That was eight years ago, and I still remember what we made.

You see, food is the center of so many aspects of life. It’s the center of parties, holidays and cultural traditions. It’s the center of your family get-togethers and your church fundraisers.

But, what happens when your 12-year-old daughter is gluten intolerant, and Sunday pasta Bolognese is no longer an option for your traditional family dinner?

What happens when you are diagnosed with diabetes and haven’t a clue what to snack on?

What if, after your latest check-up, your doctor recommended a Keto diet, a Paleo diet, or a dairy-free, sugar-free or meat-free diet?

You can Google recipes for hours on end, reading reviews, bookmarking, printing — or you can participate in The Learning Kitchen Project.

The Learning Kitchen Project has been a big idea for some time. It’s on the library’s three-year plan, but it comes with a price tag, a price tag too expensive for the public library.

With funding through a South Madison Community Foundation’s Community Enhancement Grant and a Madison County Foundation’s Youth Leadership Academy grant, the library received $7,500 to make The Learning Kitchen Project a reality.

The purpose of the grant is to install a full kitchen in the library’s community room to be used for demonstrations and cooking classes.

The Learning Kitchen Project targets three specific audiences: those who need to prepare food in accordance with specific diet regulations, those who want new ideas for family meals using affordable pantry items, and teens who desire to learn basic kitchen and food preparation skills.

In a partnership with Purdue Extension, the Pendleton Community Public Library will start offering cooking classes and demonstrations.

Construction on The Learning Kitchen Project is under way. So, stay tuned to see what’s cooking.