Hollis woman shows how to make ‘SuperSnacks’

NASHUA – Liz Barbour, of Hollis, the creator and chef of The Creative Feast, will teach a cooking class called “SuperSnacks for Super Kids” on Saturday to help 26 matches from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Nashua and Greater Salem learn to cook simple meals and make good nutritious choices.

Barbour specializes in cooking demonstrations and instruction. Her favorite thing about cooking is knowing that what she cooks will be healthy for her family.

“My husband and kids know how to eat well because healthy food has always been a part of our lives and our family discussions,” Barbour said. “That education, that understanding of healthy choices, is what I give to them. It is my job to educate them so they can take those lessons with them.”

When Big Brothers Big Sisters contacted Barbour about offering a cooking program, she realized it would be a great opportunity to reach a group that would have fun while learning about good nutrition.

“Teaching adults how to cook is very satisfying,” Barbour said. “Teaching kids how to cook is more challenging, but really important. I am looking forward to helping Bigs and Littles learn some easy cooking techniques that they can do together without me.”

Cooking is already an integral part of many Big/Little relationships, and with 26 matches signed up for the event at Villa Banca, it’s clear that these matches want to know more.

For some, such as Gary Vaudreuil, a Big from Derry, and his 13-year-old Little, Matt, it will be a first foray into the world of food preparation. The duo, who have been matched since August, are looking forward to the class and are always on the lookout to experience new things together.

Angel Brown is a Big from Nashua. She and her 7-year-old Little, Selena, also from Nashua, once made cookies together, and although the cookies didn’t come out as planned, the two still laughed a lot and ate the cookies.

“I signed up for the class with Selena because I really want to have a positive experience with her in hopes that she will learn how to eat healthy,” Brown said. “I think it’s very important and the class will just be fun and something we can enjoy together.”

Katye Therrien, a Big from Milford, has been matched for a little over two years with her 15-year-old Little, Eman. They’ve cooked a few meals together and baked cookies and other goodies.

“She really seems to enjoy preparing food and seeing a positive reaction on a job well done,” Therrien said. “I also like to cook, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to maybe learn a few good kitchen tips.”

“SuperSnacks for Super Kids” focuses on easy-to-make snacks that are full of “superfoods.” Barbour said “superfoods” is a buzzword used to describe foods that are highly nutritious and filling. She’ll demonstrate three recipes and give samples to the group, who will not only learn about “superfoods,” but also brainstorm with Barbour on some additional “SuperSnack” ideas.

Barbour especially enjoys taking the mystery out of cooking for others.

“Watching someone ‘get it’ is wonderful,” she said. “Did you know that learning the proper way to cut and cook an onion can change your life? That’s what I tell my students, and by the end of class, they believe me.

“Onions are in most sauces, soups, stews and vegetable dishes. If you can cut and cook an onion correctly, you will improve your knife skills, add flavor, save time and improve your understanding of cooking unbelievably.”

Barbour has been cooking professionally since 1992 in the Boston area, and established The Creative Feast in 2004 after realizing she needed to create a job that would allow her to be a mom first and a creative person second.

“I realized that so many of us do not know how to cook well and wish we could,” Barbour said. “Time is in short supply for many people, and if I can teach someone a few easy, reliable techniques, chances are they will continue to cook and continue to gain experience.

“The more you cook for yourself, the healthier you will be.”

As a bonus for participants, Villa Banca will give Bigs and Littles a tour of the kitchen.