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Spice of Life

Alamelu Vairavan, a Whitefish Bay resident, is an author and culinary instructor. Alamelu has a passion for educating the public about the use of spices and legumes in preparing healthy and tasty foods. She is also interested in educating the public about the growing research that points to the enormous health benefits of spices in preventing many diseases. Her mission is to enrich people's culinary experience and to inspire them to discover that cooking and sharing healthful foods can be an especially joyful experience.

Visit Alamelu's web site, CurryOnWheels.com.

Cooking Magic in WFB Library

The Whitefish Bay library means a lot to me and my family. When my children were growing up in Whitefish Bay, we used the library often. When the library was remodeled and opened a few years ago, my cookbook co-author Dr. Patricia Marquardt and I were invited to be featured authors during the opening ceremony. We felt honored and we met many residents from the community. We cooked a variety of foods prepared from our cook book for tasting. It was a memorable afternoon.

As the reader may know from my previous blogs, I am an author and a culinary instructor with a passion to help people discover the joy of cooking and eating healthful foods. Through my classes and other culinary presentations, I have found that Milwaukeeans, including children, are eager to learn about spices and legumes and to enjoy cooking with a variety of vegetables. Many students in my classes have indicated that even their children find vegetables and flavored rice dishes irresistible when cooked with spices and legumes. The message that I am communicating is that legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and spices can significantly enhance the appeal of a broad variety of foods.  Spices are flavor enhancers and have intrinsic health benefits. Legumes are known to be nutritional power houses loaded with protein and fiber.  With obesity and diabetes on the rise, discovering new ways to prepare and enjoy healthful foods is increasingly important.   

Now, that my children are grown up and are settled outside Wisconsin, I had more time for community service. I decided that one way was to offer free cooking classes in our community.  Whitefish Bay library has a beautiful community room in the second floor for meetings and educational activities. Last year during a visit to the library, Elke Saylor, the friendly librarian asked me about my culinary activities. At that time we explored an idea to do a series of monthly healthful cooking classes in the community room. Elke checked with the board and they were happy to have me do a cooking program for the community.  The class was scheduled once a month from 7:30PM to 9PM. My healthful cooking program was free, and was open to everyone even if they lived outside Whitefish Bay.  The participants registered with the librarian.

Once a month on a scheduled day, I demonstrated the preparation of two dishes to the class. The class size was limited to 25, and many requests for registration had to be turned down.  I oriented the attendees to spices and legumes and we had a fun-filled session of cooking, discussion and tasting. It was wonderful for me to meet many of the community residents who were very enthusiastic and eager to learn. We had a memorable time together cooking and sharing food.

Now, that everyone is concerned about being fit and healthy, it is a rewarding experience for me to share my knowledge and skill helping community residents discover new and healthful ways to eat. This,  well received program will be continued in the winter.

We will present again this series of classes on healthful cooking starting from February 2009.  The classes at WFB library in the community room are scheduled Feb.11th, April 15th, and May 20th from 7:30 to 9:00PM. The details for the healthful cooking series are also posted in WFB library‚Äôs website.                                                

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