By Emma Morrison, Communications Fellow at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services
As I walked into Community Servings (www.servings.org) in Jamaica Plain today, I was surprised to find so many excited children milling around, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Governor Deval Patrick. As I too wait for Governor Patrick, I realize the chatter from the children is not only associated with meeting the Governor himself but also on their once-in-a-lifetime chance to make homemade cranberry applesauce with him. [These adorable kids probably got to stay home from school today, but that’s beside the point!]
Today is the launch of an exciting new partnership with the magazine ChopChop, the Fun Cooking Magazine for Families (www.chopchopmag.org) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Mass in Motion (www.mass.gov/massinmotion) initiative. The new ChopChop newsletter will provide Massachusetts families a free monthly recipe using locally grown produce. The hope is that parents will be encouraged to spend time preparing fresh healthy meals with their children. The ChopChop newsletter is designed to complement the Mass in Motion initiative to combat obesity and chronic disease in Massachusetts by encouraging residents to eat better and move more.
After the children patiently sat through the introductions and short speeches, the fun really started. Governor Patrick rolled up his sleeves, put on his apron and assisted the children with the final steps of preparing cranberry applesauce. The Governor then graciously took pictures with each child and their parents.
Sally Sampson, founder of ChopChop, reminded audience members of the multitude of benefits cooking can have on children, including spending time together as a family, introducing healthy eating habits, learning locally grown fruits and vegetables and practicing mathematic skills. Sounds like a win-win to me.
I will be the first to admit, if you aren’t a ‘cook’ (which I am not) the kitchen can be intimidating. But hopefully, these fun, relatively easy recipes will ease kitchen anxiety and homemade meals will be looked at as a fun and enjoyable time to be with your family. These newsletters will include personal messages from the Patrick-Murray Administration, along with fun facts about the food you are preparing and offer tips to help keep your kids safe in the kitchen as well! The more that we can teach our children to cook healthy foods and to be nutritionally literate, the more we can support healthy eating habits over a lifetime.
Don’t forget to look for free, healthy, monthly recipes your whole family can enjoy at www.mass.gov/massinmotion/chopchop. Who knows — maybe the next Emeril Lagasse will be found in the Commonwealth thanks to this exciting new initiative!