SACO (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Cooking Matters is a program that helps children, families, and veterans learn how to make healthy, affordable, and delicious recipes from scratch.
The program is part of the Good Shepherd Food Bank. Classes are held on a weekly basis statewide, including one for veterans at the Saco VA clinic. Some of the veterans at that class are learning to cook from scratch for the first time.
On week three of this Cooking Matters series, veterans like Bert Johnson, are learning to make turkey and tofu tacos.
"Getting better," he says to describe his cooking skills. "Getting out of my comfort zone for taste wise and things I've never really dealt with before."
For Bert, this weekly class is about more than food.
"It also gets you out of the house for an extra two hours a week."
He says he's seeing health benefits, too.
"The weight's coming down and being a borderline diabetic, as long as my weight comes down, I don't have to worry about meds."
If health concerns weren't enough, many veterans live on a fixed income. That's where this program really helps.
"It's really extending people's understanding of their food resources beyond just getting food at a food pantry," says Courtney Kennedy of the Good Shepherd Food Bank.
The classes start with a nutrition lesson, then everyone pitches in to create the day's dish. At the end of the two-hour lesson, it's time to dig in and enjoy the fruits of their labor.