It all started with a single visit to the campus of Thornwell Home for Children. Since seeing the campus, touring its facilities and learning about the ministry, agricultural guru, Elizabeth Ramirez, has brought her culinary ideas from “pasture to plate.”
Ramirez holds a B.S. and M.S. in Animal and Poultry Science and is now pursing her PhD in Food Technology at Clemson University. “At the time I first visited Thornwell, I was still trying to figure out what I wanted my dissertation topic to be and I was working on a healthy eating cookbook.” Seeing all the possibility at Thornwell and brainstorming ways to bring health concepts to children and families led to Ramirez’s current dissertation project.
The end goal for Ramirez is to develop an 8-week long culinary curriculum that can be shared in various communities, including Clinton, SC. The curriculum is an interactive 8-lesson program that provides the foundation for healthy cooking for parents and children.
As a pilot study to her dissertation, Ramirez approached Thornwell about offering cooking classes to the cottage families. “The Thornwell families were perfect,” says Ramirez. “I want to get kids into the kitchen cooking with their parents. Not only does it provide a time for bonding, but also builds essential skills and habits that may dictate the dietary behaviors of these kids as adults.”
Ty in TPH learns how to prepare chicken for an easy and healthy recipe
Last month, Ramirez visited several of Thornwell’s cottages to share about healthy eating and demonstrate how to prepare easy recipes. The boys in TPH Cottage made a yummy chicken salad with lots of fresh and affordable ingredients which received rave reviews.
Ramirez also showed them how to make dessert using pears and tomatoes!! The boys were shocked to see vegetables in their dessert, but most were pleasantly surprised at how delicious it turned out. Both the boys and their Family Teachers said they enjoyed the lesson and would be implementing much of what they learned in the future.
As part of the culinary curriculum, Ramirez meets with families once per week for 1.5 hours to teach them about food safety, nutrition, meal planning and everything in between. She covers topics like shopping on a budget, knife safety, food handling and preservation, various cooking methods, time management, meal management, food preparation, and tips for involving children in the cooking process.
Ramirez also spends much of her time creating new recipes that are healthy, require little time and are doable for families that may have few resources. Along with her co-author Maciel Ugalde, she is planning to offer a healthy eating cookbook online as part of her efforts.
To read Ramirez’ blog, visit http://frompasture2plate.wordpress.com. And To learn more about her dissertation project or the curriculum, contact her at email@example.com.