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2131 Beaufait Street
Detroit, MI, 48207
United States

(313) 923-3535 ext. 202


Cooking Matters Wishes You Happy New Year!

Cooking Matters

Happy New Year from Cooking Matters!
Veggies 3


Cooking Matters Wishes You Happy New Year!

Welcome 2018 jpg 2

We're so appreciative of all you contribute to Cooking Matters!  Thank you for all you do for our program and our community!!

This month, we're looking back at 2017.  We take a look at survey data, and a very powerful story about the impact Cooking Matters had on the health of one Participant!

We could't do it without you!!

Cooking Matters is looking forward to seeing you in the 2018!  

Cooking Matters Meet-Up: Just Eat It

Just Eat It 2

This year, Cooking Matters will be offering opportunities for Volunteers to come together outside the Cooking Matters Classroom in Meet-Ups.  Our first Meet-Up is scheduled for later this month.  We hope you'll join us at a free screening of Just Eat It:

Wednesday, January 31
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
University of Detroit Mercy 
Student Center Ballroom
4001 W. McNichols, Detroit

The Detroit Food Policy Council and the University of Detroit Campus Kitchen have teamed up to offer the first in a Film and Dialogue Series about food-related issues.

Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of food waste from farm, through retail, and decide to quit grocery shopping and survive only on discarded food for 6 months

Following the film, enjoy a panel discussion with local experts and community advocates who provide a local perspective on food waste.  Among the panelists will be Cooking Matters Volunteer, Kevin Kay!

Please RSVP here.  To view a University of Detroit Mercy campus map, click here.  There will be signage to direct you to the Student Center, and event.  The ballroom is on the second floor of the Student Center.  There is security at the campus gate.  Please ask the public safety officer for more directions regarding parking.

Contact Carolyn Sagi with questions regarding event details,, 313-580-9822.

Hope to see you there! 

Urgent Volunteers Needed!

Please consider sharing your time with Cooking Matters in the following class:

Cooking Matters for Adults
United Community Family Services
2033 Austin Drive
Troy, MI  48083
*Arabic speaking volunteers a plus*
2/19/2018 - 3/26/2018
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Culinary Instructor, Nutrition Instructor, and Classroom Assistant

Contact Carolyn with questions, or to sign up for class:  313-308-0585 (o), 313-580-9822 (c), or

Substitutes Needed!


Even if you haven't got time for a whole class series, please check in with the Cooking Matters Michigan BLOG to view our "One-Time Volunteers Needed" page with substitute volunteer opportunities.

This list changes often!  If no one-time volunteer opportunities fit your schedule, check again soon! 

Contact Carolyn with questions, or to sign up for class:  313-308-0585 (o), 313-580-9822 (c), or

2017 Participant Changes

Rick with Participants

Each Cooking Matters course begins and ends with participant surveys. Have you ever wondered what we do with all that data?

The primary question the surveys answer is "Does it work?" We want to see how Cooking Matters impacts participants' real-life shopping, cooking, and eating habits.

Last year in Michigan, we graduated 6,655 participants from Cooking Matters and 1,235 from Cooking Matters at the Store. Survey data from those courses tells an encouraging tale:

CMA Behavior Change Results 3

Participants in Cooking Matters for Adults reported substantially more interest in cooking at home, increased food security, and decreased consumption of sugary drinks. Even better, 89% planned to share what they learned with friends and family. 

CMP Behavior Change Results 2

Fewer French fries and more fruit? We're particularly encouraged by the healthy changes in our Cooking Matters for Parents courses. Plus, with more stability in their food budgets, these parents are helping make "No Kid Hungry" a reality.

CMF Behavior Change Results

Our families classes aim to get kids and parents cooking healthy foods at home - and we saw 100% move in that direction! Cooking Matters for Families participants were substantially more likely to plan, prepare, and eat healthy meals together after the course.

CMT Behavior Change Results

After Cooking Matters, teens made savvier choices using the nutrition facts panel, ate more vegetables and low-fat dairy, and were more likely to eat breakfast. Establishing healthy habits at this age is vital, so we were especially happy to see that most teen participants planned to share their knowledge with friends and family.

CMATS Behavior Change Results

Even one session of Cooking Matters programming can make a big difference! Cooking Matters at the Store tour participants were eager to practice label-reading and price comparison skills on their next shopping trip.

It's always fantastic to hear participants talk about the positive changes they're making, and it's even more exciting to have the data to back it up.

Cooking Matters Participant TRANSFORMATION!


John knew he needed to make changes. His weight was up. With it came struggles with diabetes and high blood pressure. His doctors prescribed medications to address the issues, but John knew he needed to do more. 

John learned that a course would be offered at the apartment complex where he lived. It was called Cooking Matters for Adults. It advertised nutrition and culinary education, teaching participants to stretch food dollars in the most nutritious way possible. John was interested, and signed up for the class. 

For six weeks, he worked with a culinary instructor, nutrition instructor, and a class of motivated friends. He learned about MyPlate. He learned to eat a variety of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables every day. He learned about whole grains, and different types of fat. He learned delicious alternatives to sugary beverages. He learned to identify and choose lean protein and dairy foods. He also learned basic culinary skills and delicious recipes. 

John found his experience very informative and motivating. He was engaged, and ready for a healthy transformation. 

At the end of his course, John thanked his coordinator. He told her what a big difference the course had made for him. They snapped a picture together. 

2017-12-08 John Before 3

John at the end of his Cooking Matters Course

As the weeks and months went by after his Cooking Matters for Adults class, John realized he had the basic building blocks to make the changes that would be beneficial to his health. He tried to follow the instruction from class. He ate according to MyPlate. He cooked healthy, delicious meals that fit his budget. John got more active. 

The weight began to come off. The healthy changes also began to show in his labs and the way that he felt. "I feel better now than I did when I was 21." 

2017-12-08 John After

John after losing 70 pounds putting what he learned in his Cooking Matters course into practice

A few years after the class, John is now 70 pounds lighter. He feels great, and he's very proud to say that he is off ALL of his medications, and his pharmacy bill is ZERO! 

John credits the experience he had with Cooking Matters for the motivation and the building blocks that set him up for success. 

To John, and to so many others, Cooking Matters!

'Food Literacy for All' University of Michigan Open Course


This semester, The University of Michigan, in partnership with the Detroit Food Policy Council, is offering Food Literacy for All, an introduction to food system issues.

Every week, from Jan-Apr 2018, guest speakers will address the diverse challenges and opportunities of both domestic and global food systems.  Class is held:

Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Angell Hall, Aud B

Community members are welcome to attend class, but are asked to register online up to one week prior.  If you are not able to attend, each class session will be recorded and posted on YouTube, and the Food Literacy for All Website.

Three upcoming sessions will be livestreamed:

Feb. 6 - Winona LaDuke
Mar. 6 - Fernando Funes Monzote
Mar. 27 - LaDonna Redmond

Watch at home, or with other interested community members.  Winona LaDuke will be livestreamed at American Indian Health and Family Services.  Fernando Funes Monzote and LaDonna Redmond will be livestreamed at the University of Michigan Detroit Center.

Reach out to Carolyn Sagi with any questions,, 313-308-0585 (o), 313-580-9822 (c).

Gleaners Programs

Cooking Matters of Southeast Michigan is proud to be one of many amazing programs offered by Gleaners Community Food Bank.

If you have extra time, these excellent programs would love to have your help.

My Neighborhood Mobile Grocery (MNMG) 

MNMG is a weekly pop-up market that provides families and individuals who have low access to affordable, healthy foods with a new and innovative shopping option within their communities. MNMG addresses both economic access as well as physical access to food and helps to reduce food insecurity by extending the shopper’s purchasing power. 

Volunteers are needed to greet and assist shoppers, assemble orders on truck, check and bag orders for customers, and assist with market set-up and tear-down. Volunteers must be age 18 or older. Click here, and reach out to Julie Ptasznik at for more information.

Mercado Client-Choice Food Hub at the FREC

Gleaners Community Food Bank provides a food pantry for our hungry neighbors at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC).  At the Mercado Client Choice Food Hub at the FREC, customers choose groceries from a wide variety of perishable and nonperishable items. 

Volunteer activities at the FREC Mercado Food Hub Client Choice Pantry include: helping clients shop, loading food into vehicles, stocking pantry shelves, and cleaning.


Click here for a description of Mercado Client Choice Food Hub at the FREC volunteer opportunities.

Participant Quote of the Month


"Cooking Matters made me feel 

like a great chef."

-Cooking Matters for Teens Participant

Volunteer Spotlight: Kim Fronrath and John Wolford

Kim and John

John Wolford and Kim Fronrath

Kim Fronrath and John Wolford began volunteering with Cooking Matters together in 2016.  Married and retired, they share their time and enthusiasm as Classroom Assistants.  Collectively, they are this month's Volunteer Spotlight. 

Tell us a little about yourself.
I (Kim) retired from the Pharmaceutical Industry 3 years ago. I enjoy volunteering, taking classes, playing golf, traveling, hiking, biking, gardening and all things active. I have always enjoyed cooking and in recent years taken more interest in food sourcing and artisan preparation. During my employment, I worked with Oncology and Diabetic patients where nutrition plays a very integral role in healing and treatment. John retired from Ford Motor in 2015. He is active in his church, plays a lot of golf, gardens, cooks, hikes, bikes and plays with the grandkids. 

What led you to the Cooking Matters program?
I found the Cooking Matters program through when I was looking for opportunities to contribute to the community. John asked to join in the  volunteering because the mission of Cooking Matters, aligns with what we try to incorporate with our lives. We try to cook well and simply with nutrition, budget and sourcing in mind.

What is your favorite part of volunteering for the Cooking Matters program?
My favorite part of the program is what I learn from the students. Many of them are so knowledgeable and just trying to renew and add to their own skills. I like the enthusiasm from the groups!! John really likes the interaction with the people and organizing the food for the students to take home.

Do you have a favorite moment from a Cooking Matters class you would like to share?
I can't think of a favorite moment. There were many memorable experiences in the class I worked in with Disabled adults, but nothing that particularly stood out.

What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen?
We always have pasta, beans, sundried tomatoes, olives, good oils and vinegars, all kinds of nuts and seeds, yogurt, fruit and vegetables.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Probably, the favorite activity of my spare time is travel and reading. I like to expand my perspective on other cultures and our place in the world. Travel expands my thinking  and I learn the relevance of history. I also love the art, architecture and sculpture of the world. Reading does all of the same things and is something accessible all of the time. John's favorite spare time activity is GOLF!! He also loves MSU football and has had season tickets since 1982.

Do you have a recipe you'd like to share?

Kale with Barley, Mushrooms and Tomatoes
by John

Cook a cup of barley or farro and drain. 

In a saute pan, cook 1 small chopped onion in 2 T olive oil untill soft. 

Add 8 oz of sliced mushrooms and cook until soft. 

Season with salt and pepper and garlic to taste. 

Add 12 oz washed, trimmed and chopped Kale to the vegetables and cook until it wilts. 

Add 1 cup whole cherry or grape tomatoes, and the cooked and drained barley or farro. 

Season again and toss together to heat. 

Serve with Chicken or Fish.

Cooking Matters Volunteer, Jane Kersjes Recognized!

Cooking Matters Volunteer, Jane Kersjes was recently honored as one of the Association for Fundraising Professionals' Distinguished Volunteers.  

A retiree from DTE Energy, Jane has been volunteering with Cooking Matters since 2016.  Cooking Matters is lucky to have her time, as she is active with many organizations, including AARP, Red Cross, and Mercy Education Project.

Click here to learn more about the accomplishments of this fantastic volunteer.

Congratulations, Jane!

Be on the lookout for new site opportunities!


Do you know an organization that would like to host a Cooking Matters Series?

We are currently seeking suggestions for new Cooking Matters Host Agencies. Potential sites should serve low income populations and be able to recruit 15-18 participants who can commit to a six week series. Please contact Rebecca with any ideas: (313) 923-3535 x 202 or



We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the new volunteers who recently began their first Cooking Matters class:

  • Andrew C.
  • Bianca B.
  • Craig L.
  • Dana P.
  • Debbie R.
  • Eve H.
  • Judy B.
  • Sheryl M.
  • Terry J.

This space is reserved for YOU!

Have you recently been featured in the media?  Do you have an accomplishment, event, or opportunity that you would like to share with our readers?  Let us know so that we can include it in the next newsletter!


Volunteers Needed

Cooking Matters for Parents

01/17/2018 - 02/21/2018


8:45 a.m.- 10:45 a.m.

Cortland Head Start

138 Cortland St.

Highland Park, MI 48203 

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Kids 

01/31/2018 -03/07/2018


3:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.

Center for Success Detroit

1600 East Grand Blvd.

Detroit, MI 48211 

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Parents

02/07/2018 - 03/21/2018


*Skip February 21*

9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m.

Stottlemyer Head Start

34801 Marquette

Westland, MI 48185

Culinary Instructor and

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Adults

02/19/2018 - 03/26/2018


10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

United Community Family


2033 Austin Drive

Troy, MI 48083

Culinary Instructor, Nutrition

Instructor, and Class


*Arabic speaking volunteers a plus*

Cooking Matters for Teens

02/21/2018 - 03/28/2018


4:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.

Metro Youth YMCA

1401 Broadway St., Suite 2A

Detroit, MI 48336 

Culinary Instructor and

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Families

02/22/2018 - 03/29/2018


5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Pierce Middle School

25605 Orangelawn

Redford, MI 48239

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Adults

EXTRA for Diabetes

02/26/2018 - 04/02/2018


6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Western Wayne Family

Health Centers Taylor

26650 Eureka Rd C.

Taylor, MI 48180

Culinary Instructor

Cooking Matters para Adultos

*Spanish speaking

volunteers a plus*

03/01/2018 - 04/12/2018


*Skip 4/5/2017*

1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Ford Resource and

Engagement Center

2826 Bagley Ave Detroit, MI


Culinary Instructor and

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Adults

EXTRA for Diabetes

03/05/2018 - 04/09/2018


1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Ford Senior Center

6750 Troy St.

Taylor, MI 48180

Culinary Instructor and

Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults

03/06/2018 - 04/10/2018


5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Mercy Place Clinic

55 Clinton St. Pontiac, MI


Culinary Instructor and Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Teens

03/06/2018 - 04/17/2018


*Skip 4/3/2018*

3:05 p.m. - 5:05 p.m.

Hazel Park Jr. High School

22770 Highland Hazel Park,

MI 48030

Culinary Instructor and

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Adults

03/07/2018 - 04/11/2018


1:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m.

Labelle Towers Co-Op 33

Labelle Highland Park, MI


Culinary Instructor and

Nutrition Instructor

Cooking Matters for Parents

03/14/2018 - 04/25/2018


*Skips 4/4/2018*

1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Lincoln Park Head Start

3320 Electric Avenue

Lincoln Park, MI 48146

Culinary Instructor, Nutrition

Instructor, and Class


Cooking Matters for Families

04/10/2018 - 05/15/2018


5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Hazel Park District Library

123 E. Nine Mile Hazel Park,

MI 48331

Culinary Instructor

Cooking Matters for Adults

EXTRA for Diabetes

04/16/2018 - 05/21/2018


5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Salvation Army Conner


3000 Conner Ave Detroit, MI


Culinary Instructor and

Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults

EXTRA for Diabetes

05/03/2018 - 06/07/2018


11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Western Wayne Family

Health Centers Inkster

2700 Hamlin Dr,

Inkster, MI 48141

Culinary Instructor

Cooking Matters for Adults

EXTRA for Diabetes

05/22/2018 - 06/26/2018


6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Henry Ford Centennial


16301 Michigan Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48126

Culinary Instructor

For a list of all of our volunteer opportunities, click here.

This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. This work is supported in part by the Michigan Department of Human Services, under contract number ADMIN-10-99011. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Michigan Fitness Foundation or the Michigan Department of Human Services. In accordance with Federal law and USDA policy, these institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720- 6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more contact the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline at (855) ASK-MICH.
Tel: (313) 923-3535, ext. 257
Cell: (313) 580-9822