Sustainable Solano, The Vallejo Public Library and U R what U eat have partnered to bring the community a continuation of the What’s For Dinner? cooking and educational series (now in its 5th year). This year’s series features healthy cooking classes and conscious eating book group discussions. The series of cooking classes will take place quarterly and highlight the local and seasonal produce of the four seasons. All programs will take place at the John F. Kennedy Library in downtown Vallejo. The seasonal series of healthy cooking workshops will be taught by Lisa Núñez-Hancock, a culinary arts instructor, natural food chef, food activist and a member of Sustainable Solano’s advisory board focusing on the local food movement.

The idea behind the series What’s for Dinner? is to educate the community in healthy food choices and give them the skills to make their own delicious and nutritious food from fresh seasonal produce. Starting this Spring, the first of these seasonal cooking workshops-Fresh Out of the Garden will be held on Saturday May 6th at 2pm. Participants in this workshop will learn how to make spring rolls and complimentary sauces utilizing fresh vegetables from the Spring time garden. The workshop will show how this healthy and nutritious recipe can be a go to afternoon snack, light lunch, elegant appetizer or a protein packed anytime meal.

In the second seasonal cooking workshop highlighting the flavors of Summer the series will present Bright and Light Summer Recipes on July 29th. In this workshop participants will learn how to make classic pesto sauce from fresh basil and other healthy variations of this sauce utilizing fresh produce from the Summer garden. This workshop will also teach how to prepare spaghetti squash, a heathy vegetable alternative to pasta. All classes and book group meetings are free and open to the public, and all participants in each workshop will receive a copy of the recipe.

In conjunction with seasonal cooking workshops the series will also include a conscious eating book group. The group will meet four times a year to discuss books relevant to the local and global food movement and healthy eating. For the Spring meeting participants will read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. The book group will meet on Wednesday June14th at 6:30pm discuss the book.

Food Rules is a seminal book for healthy eating chock full of food wisdom. It cuts through all of the confusion and gives people simple guidelines to healthy eating.

“Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food. Written with clarity, concision, and wit that has become bestselling author Michael Pollan’s trademark, this indispensable handbook lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely, one per page, accompanied by a concise explanation. It’s an easy-to-use guide that draws from a variety of traditions, suggesting how different cultures through the ages have arrived at the same enduring wisdom about food. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet, this is the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, “What should I eat?”

Lisa Núñez-Hancock is a culinary arts instructor, natural food chef, food activist and founder of UR what U eat. Lisa has recently moved to Vallejo and is very excited about bringing her skills and knowledge about nutrition, food preparation and the politics around the food movement to the community. She has taught nutrition and healthy cooking classes for over nine years in inner-city after school programs, museums, libraries, homesteading hubs, at community centers, and as part of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s curriculum.

In her mission statement Lisa describes UR what U eat as a culinary program which provides hands-on healthy cooking and nutrition workshops to children, teens and adults. UR what U eat workshops teach basic cooking skills and fundamental principals of nutrition, while utilizing math and science skills as they relate to food preparation. Rooted in the fundamentals of the Slow Food Movement and the writings of Michael Pollan, UR what U eat embraces the philosophy of growing, preparing and eating real food. Workshops take participants through the complete food cycle, while at the same time preserving healthy multi-cultural culinary traditions. It is a program that promotes healthy and conscious eating for the entire family.

Lisa is currently working on a seasonal gardening/cookbook with her co-author Rick Perillo, a master gardener at the MUSE School in Southern California.

Look for updates on the Fall and Winter series workshops and book group selections.