This past week we introduced Cooking Well to community and faith leaders at the eMeals Headquarters in the test kitchen for coffee and dessert while various aspects of the collaboration between CSM, eMeals and Samford were illuminated. Twenty women gathered around the kitchen island to experience cooking together in the same fashion as a CW class and began to see how that non-threatening environment fosters immediate camaraderie. With the aroma of dark chocolate and honey filling the room, everyone waited for the dessert to cook while listening to a nutritional presentation by Samford graduate intern, Carolyn Copenhaver. Then all were treated to a hot-out-of-the-oven (Paleo) lava cake and coffee as a vision for unity in the city was cast.

With the aroma of dark chocolate and honey filling the room, everyone waited for the dessert to cook

Each six-week session culminates in a graduation dinner where the participants are recognized with a certificate of achievement. Gathering around a cook surface to prepare food and then enjoying the food we prepared is unifying in unexpected ways. Week after week, we witness the uniting power of food and conversation around the table— listening and learning from each other.
Leveraging Christian Service Mission’s multiple strong relationships with and access to the underserved communities of Birmingham and partnership with the Nutrition and Dietetics Department of Samford University, Cooking Well is a collaboration with eMeals, Inc. and now a fully operational hands-on cooking course.
The program is designed to teach cooking skills, nutrition and the importance of family-centered meals, while aiming to unite people in our city and break cultural barriers.

Many of our class participants live in food deserts, and we have encountered participants facing serious health concerns including cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes and hypertension. Most participants have expressed a sincere hunger for nutritional and healthful food preparation knowledge. During the class, the participants are introduced to new tastes, ideas, cooking techniques, and important life skills that would lead them to eat more healthfully and make better food choices to nourish their families.

Fresh produce and herbs from the CSM gardens and aquaponics greenhouses are available to the program when in season. Groceries and necessary items for each class are purchased with benevolent funds. As the program grows to reach more communities, we are looking to expand our sponsorship and volunteer base and hope to build a teaching kitchen on the Christian Service Mission campus. You are invited to join us at the table as well!