Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

2131 Beaufait Street
Detroit, MI, 48207
United States

(313) 923-3535 ext. 202

Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Volunteer Spotlight: Phyllis Holmes

Rebecca Blauw

Phyllis Tell us a little about yourself.

I have been married for 33 years to a wonderful man. We have three grown children and a two-month-old grandson. I retired last year from a finance position at Severstal North America in Dearborn and I have been thoroughly enjoying my free time!

How did you first connect with Cooking Matters?

A year or two before I retired, I was invited to attend a Gleaners' Women's Power Breakfast. I was moved by the stories of food insecurity right here in our own communities. When I retired, I decided to find a place to volunteer and Gleaners came to mind. I looked at the volunteer opportunities on the Gleaners web site and Cooking Matters seemed like a great program. I thought of the old adage, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."  Cooking Matters is a perfect fit for me because I love to cook and I'm interested in nutrition, so I signed up to be a class assistant.

What has been your best Cooking Matters moment so far?

I assisted Jake with a class of seniors recently. After the first class, one of the participants approached me and said, "Most of the programs they bring here [to the senior apartment building where the class was held] are 'nonsense'. But this one is different. Cooking Matters is not 'nonsense'."  Except she used a slightly more colorful word than "nonsense".  I loved it because she recognized after just the first class that we were sharing good information and that the class was going to be really useful.

Do you volunteer anywhere else?

I volunteer with a couple of other Gleaners programs: Fresh Food Share and the DTE Energy Garden in Farmington Hills. I also volunteer with the Detroit Public Schools' Volunteer Reading Corps. I help kindergarteners at Dossin School with their reading skills.

What other things do you do in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my family and friends. I also enjoy cooking, knitting, reading and gardening.

Is there a recipe you would like to share with us?

This is one of my favorite quick dinners. In the time it takes to cook the spaghetti, you can make this wonderful, fresh sauce.



4 medium cloves of garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (1 packed tablespoon)

Table salt

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

3-4 tsp minced anchovies (about 6-8 fillets)

1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved

3 Tbsp rinsed capers

3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped coarse

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (optional)

1.  Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Meanwhile, mix garlic with 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl; set aside. When water is boiling, add 1 Tbsp salt and pasta; stir to separate pasta. Immediately heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté garlic and water mixture, red pepper flakes, and anchovies until garlic is fragrant but not brown - 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened - about 8 minutes.

2.  Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, then return pasta to pot; add 1/4 cup reserved tomato juice and toss to combine.

3.  Stir capers, olives and parsley (if using) into sauce. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to combine, adding more reserved tomato juice if necessary. Add more salt if necessary and serve immediately.