Meals class leaves tastebuds watering

Leslie Silverman
Roxann DuBois hosted a Creative Meals on a Budget class this week at the Little White Church. The free class was attended by about a dozen people who shared their secret recipes and insights on making everything from soups to kid friendly lunches. 
DuBois is a natural in the kitchen and is used to cooking for large groups. Aside from being Hill City School District’s food service director for eight years she has five children to cook for and grew up in a large family with a mother who owned a bakery and a father who had a meat market.
She got the idea for the class when she spoke with some of the volunteers at the food pantry about the produce that people weren’t taking. They commented that maybe people didn’t know how to use things like squash or potatoes. So DuBois figured since “we all have to eat” she would teach a class and show how easy it is to make nutritious meals that don’t cost a  bundle or take a lot of time to prepare. She says that “food is near and dear” to her and that we might as well enjoy what we eat.
DuBois showed participants how to make “kaleidoscope rice,” an aromatic rice loaded with veggies and black beans. It’s a dish that you can “throw everything in but the kitchen sink.”
She encouraged attendees to help chop fresh vegetables while she prepared parboiled rice in a pan with butter. Dubois believes in using ingredients she can pronounce.
“If you know what it is, it doesn’t have additional processing,” she said.
Her kaleidoscope rice was prepared with squash, zucchini, broccoli and carrots but she made it clear that any vegetables, even canned ones, could be used. This was a vegetarian, gluten free recipe, which anyone could adapt with ground beef, other beans, vegetables or canned chicken. 
DuBois shared her philosophy of using every part of everything she buys. Celery ends most people would toss end up in a pot for stock for soup in her house. She uses the stalk of broccoli to make a slaw.  She had no shame in sharing her tips to buy reduced food.
“With inflation, groceries are expensive,” she said, and touted the “wonderful market” Hill City has in town where she buys many of her vegetables on sale. 
All the while DuBois was explaining her rice dish she was also sharing her humor and warmth. She asked for questions repeatedly and didn’t shy away from the hard ones. When asked if any of her children are picky, she jokes, “I can’t afford picky kids.”
When the kaleidoscope rice was done cooking attendees got to sample the meal along with various crackers, cheeses and vegetables.
While not necessarily an expert, DuBois was comfortable disseminating  her knowledge and asking others to share theirs as well. She herself has a living kitchen where she sprouts almonds and lentils making them easier to digest.
DuBois hopes to have other classes, like how to cook and use lentils or a class on gnocchi, to help build a community around something we all need to do — eat.

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