Fairfax County administrative professionals picked up new spices and hearty salad ingredients as they shopped for groceries this weekend, inspired by Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteers.
Held during the last week of April in conjunction with National Administrative Professionals Day, the annual Administrative Resource Team (ART) Conference brings personnel from throughout Fairfax County together for a day of workshops. This year’s conference, held on April 26 at the Government Center, featured two workshops by VCE.
“Healthy Cooking for Busy Families: Hearty and Versatile Salads,” featured a cooking demonstration. VCE Extension Agent Katie Strong prepared Smoky Black Bean and Corn Salad while Master Food Volunteers Sue Lagon, Mike Perel, Julia Schneider and Sue Gonzalez dished up and served samples to nearly 80 participants. Strong recommended that families prepare healthful, filling salads on Sunday evening for lunches and snacks throughout the week.
The highlight of the “Herbs and Spices Master Class” was a spice tasting contest. Using unsalted pretzels dipped in olive oil, more than 70 attendees sampled and tried to guess the names of six spices. Strong then delivered a fast-paced tour of the world of herbs and spices. The goal of the program was to encourage participants to try alternatives to sodium, which is far too prevalent in the typical American diet.
In addition to getting a well-deserved break from their workday routines, conference participants picked up a wealth of healthy cooking ideas to share with their families and friends this weekend.
Written by Sue Gonzalez, Master Food Volunteer