The Three Amigos of Metro Caring
"Who's that guy in the cowboy hat, accompanied by two sidekicks?" you might wonder if you happened to be at Metro Caring around 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Matthew (in the hat) looks like the hero sheriff of an old Western. And while you won't ever see him, or Kary or Philip, wearing spurs or spinning pistols, the Three Amigos of Metro Caring do carry the same civic mindedness of a Western sheriff.
The three, who attend Metro Caring's weekly Tuesday cooking class, met while volunteering at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies food pantry.
Matthew, who guides shoppers through the pantry, has been volunteering there for ten years. Kary and Philip, who oversee the Feeding America deliveries and USDA meat sorting, respectively, have been volunteering for four.
Philip has been coming to Metro Caring for a year and a half, with the weekly adult cooking class serving as the main draw. Kary and Matthew found out about the class through Philip and were drawn, in particular, to the nutrition education component of the class.
According to Matthew, "[Philip] said it was a nutrition class and he said that you do a class and you help with the prep and you make lunch. He said it's a lot of fun, so I said, sure I'd be up for checking it out. And when I came here, it really was very educational. Chief [Kary] here didn't have knife skills but now he just..."
"Too much!" says Philip, laughing.
Kary, the now-master chopper, agrees: it's the nutrition aspect of the class that's so appealing. "It's fun, educational -- I enjoy it."
Has the cooking class inspired them to cook more at home?
"I think it gets you to cook different stuff than what you would normally cook," says Philip. "I'm a big pasta eater. But I've gotten to a point where I don't cook as much pasta as I did. And I've cut down on a lot of other things, like cereal. I've done a lot more stir fry vegetables. So that has been a big factor for me."
"I've lost weight since coming here and I've also gotten my cholesterol levels right on the money from these classes," Matthew chimes in.
Meanwhile, the classes have inspired Kary to substitute more fish for red meat in his diet.
Do the Three Amigos have a favorite recipe from the cooking classes?
"I don't know if I have a favorite recipe...but I never knew there were different kinds of beets. I always thought of just red beets. Just being able to taste different things I'd never tried before has been a big thing for me because now I look at stuff at the store and say, hey that tasted pretty good, let's try this."
"It actually wasn't in the class, but it was downstairs [at the Healthy Tastings station]: that cole slaw they had today -- that was to die for," adds Kary.
Before we wrap up, Philip makes a request: "Can we give a compliment to two of your chefs? It's gonna be Mel and Suzanne. Those two are the best combination you've ever had. They've made cooking class so much fun and easy."
While Philip says this, Kary and Matthew nod enthusiastically.
Until the next time, Three Amigos!