|Reviewers Comments: ||Food $ense Cooks is a series of ten lessons designed to teach basic cooking skills and provide participants with an understanding of various cooking methods. Most lessons cover a specific cooking method; however, there is also a lesson dedicated to kitchen basics and one regarding knife skills.
Each lesson has the same basic structure and components. Lessons provide educators with objectives, required materials, optional supplemental materials, preparation required, and suggested lesson times. Educators should pay attention to the required materials and preparation. Each lesson involves demonstration of a cooking technique; therefore, a variety of cooking materials may be necessary including food items, utensils, applicace like microwaves and stoves, and even a pressure cooker. Additionally, some lessons require a large amount of preparation time that can include chopping food and even preparing a meal (for example, a slow cooker meal would need to be prepared 6-8 hours in advance). Lessons contain detailed instructions and are ordered similarly: they start with an introduction, move on to cover each of the objectives separately, and end with a conclusion. Educators should be sure to understand and be able to execute all cooking skills. Handouts contain relevant, useful information from each lesson as well as simple recipes that highlight the cooking skill covered. Nutrition Facts labels are not available with recipes.
Educators should note that various recipes throughout the series of lessons involve cooking meat, which sometimes include information on internal cooking temperatures, and sometimes do not. When cooking temperatures are included, the temperature referenced for pork (160°F) is incorrect. The most updated guidelines from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service state that pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (except for ground pork which is still 160°F). Educators will likely want to inform participants of correct cooking temperatures.
These lessons highlight the fact that preparing foods at home, rather than eating out, can save money and help with a grocery budget and aim to equip participants with the skills to prepare home-cooked meals. These lessons are geared more toward cooking skills than nutrition information and could be effectively combined with the nutrition lessons from Food $ense Basics to give participants both nutrition and cooking knowledge.