Friday, May 9, 2014

Domestic Diva Delights Hubsters

Bone Broth. Sauerkraut. Yogurt. These may not sound like the most exciting topics for a cooking demonstration…unless the instructor is long-time Hub volunteer, Barbara Lehr!  Barbara can make cardboard seem interesting. A natural-born-educator, healer and doula, Barbara is passionate about taking control of her own health and nutrition, and she loves to share her knowledge with others.

We all know we are supposed to eat healthy foods, and most of us have a pretty good idea what those foods are, but for Barbara, nutrition starts in the gut. “If the nutrients aren’t being absorbed and made available to our bodies, then it doesn’t matter how well we eat,” Barbara points out in a fermentation demo.  Increasing and diversifying the probiotics in the gut helps us digest food, and increases the availability of nutrients. So adding fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kim chi to your diet is an easy way to boost nutrition. It is the foundation for improving health. If you learn how easy these foods are to make at home, you can save money on groceries, and maybe even doctors’ bills!

She first discovered the wonders of bone broth when she suffered a broken arm two years ago. She started making her own broth to help heal her injury, but says she continued to use it in her diet “…because of the increased vitality! I noticed I felt better, and had more energy, so now it’s a regular part of our family routine.”  Bone broth is a great food to share with patrons at the food pantry, since it’s a nutrient dense food made from something you might ordinarily throw out.

Perhaps Barbara’s greatest skill is her ability to pull patrons from the pantry, into the kitchen for her mini demos. She sets up a few stools in the kitchen and then approaches folks in the pantry, inviting them to join her for a quick demonstration on making homemade yogurt, or how to roast a whole chicken and turn the bones into a body healing soup.  She can convince the most skeptical shopper to take a seat and hear her out. Once she has a small group gathered, she launches into her quick and passionate spiel. By the end of it, she’s fielding questions, passing out recipes (or maybe even yogurt starters) and everyone leaves excited to go home and give it a try. When asked how she lures so many patrons into the kitchen week after week, she answers “I love good food, I love people, and I know they want to be in my kitchen and learn about these things, they just don’t know it yet. So I invite them in. It’s old fashioned hospitality.”

Barbara (aka "Domestic Diva" demonstrates the basics of roasting a chicken in the Hub Kitchen

During her two-hour shift on Fridays, Barbara usually conducts 3 or 4 rounds of her mini sessions, reaching 12-15 households with her compact, informative demonstrations. Recently a woman came in to tell Barbara that she had taken a yogurt starter home and made the best yogurt she ever tasted. Now she wants to invite all her friends and neighbors over to teach them how to make yogurt! Barbara’s tutorials are exactly what we envisioned when we first dreamed of having a kitchen next to the food pantry. Community members share their knowledge, skills and passions with others.  Folks who may not attend a full workshop get the benefits of our nutrition education program with minimal time investment and maximum impact on health!

Here is a recipe for making one of those healing bone broths, Chicken Stock

note: An abbreviated version of this story appears in our Spring 2014 Harvest Report newsletter.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome lady! I'd love to be a mouse in her pocket!