SALUD!; Hispanic Cooks Learn Healthful Food Preparation

By Bonwich, Joe | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 26, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

SALUD!; Hispanic Cooks Learn Healthful Food Preparation

Bonwich, Joe, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Casa de Salud is Spanish for "House of Health." And one recent night, a dozen cooks of Hispanic heritage gathered at this midtown location to learn more healthful preparations of traditional foods.

"The goal is teaching them how to make a healthy, delicious meal on a budget," says Christina Popp, a registered dietitian and staff member of the St. Louis University Cancer Center who is teaching the class.

"And it's healthy, but it's also culturally familiar," adds Eileen Wolfington, Casa de Salud's lead community health worker.

Casa de Salud opened in 2010 as a health and wellness clinic for uninsured or underinsured Latinos in the St. Louis area. SLU sponsors Casa de Salud, renting a building for $1 a year and providing faculty and students who make up a majority of its volunteers. Casa de Salud also has partnerships with Washington University's Center for Latino Family Research, Health Literacy Missouri and many other local organizations and businesses.

Almost immediately upon opening, demand exceeded expectations, and Casa de Salud's facility - in an old auto parts store at the corner of Compton and Chouteau avenues, at the edge of SLU's medical campus - added 4,000 square feet in 2012, doubling its size.

In conjunction with diagnosis and treatment (and referral to more comprehensive facilities when necessary), Casa de Salud offers a number of programs aimed at increasing health literacy among the local Hispanic community and promoting healthier lifestyles. This night's class is part of Despensa de Salud (Pantry of Health), which teaches practical skills such as understanding nutritional labeling and serving healthful portion sizes.

The cooks pair off in alcoves in the instructional kitchen of SLU's nutrition and dietetics department, a few blocks' walk from the Casa de Salud building. After they get settled, they set about measuring and chopping in preparation for making gazpacho, quesadillas and a watermelon cooler.

Popp's encouragement and instruction are bilingual, and several of the class members warm when she addresses them in Spanish.

"Sometimes our students only speak English, and sometimes they only speak Spanish," Popp says. "Sometimes it's neither - they speak a dialect of some mountain region."

On this evening, several children have tagged along - although fewer than the most recent class, says Popp.

"The last session, the younger ones were the ones who wanted to be cooking," Popp says. "Sometimes our grad students will play with the kids, and we also have activities for them to learn about healthy eating habits."

And sometimes, Casa de Salud staff and volunteers go above and beyond to ensure that class members and their families can get here.

"Sometimes not everyone can make it, so they have to go pick up people from their houses," Popp says.

After the cooking is completed, Popp talks to the class about various aspects of shopping, preparation and nutrition.

"I came here to learn a different way how to make the foods," says class member Sam Bolanos, who has spent the evening making quesadillas. Bolanos is no stranger to the kitchen; he works in one at a downtown restaurant.

"There's always something new, something better to learn," he says.

Now, however, it's time to eat.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

SALUD!; Hispanic Cooks Learn Healthful Food Preparation


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?