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Military feature: Base offers cooking demonstrations

The smell of black bean sauce and five-spice powder filled the room as the Cantonese cooking demonstration began to heat up at the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Cannon Air Force Base.

The demonstration was one of the two that occur monthly at the center and are intended to help give airmen and their family members the life skill of cooking.

Tashara Duckett, a consultant for the center, hosts the classes, which are free to airmen and their families.

“There are not a lot of eateries in town so you can come here and learn how to cook different kinds of food and there’s no excuse,” she said.

Duckett said the demonstrations are held at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month and noon on the first Wednesday.

“That way we reach everyone,” she said.

Duckett said demonstrations cover a range of types of food and she tries to find someone who can cook a certain type to do the demonstration. When she can’t find someone, she fills in. The classes include a copy of the recipes used and a sampling.

Michelle Jeong, a spouse from the Hong Kong region in China, made food for a group of 14. She said she has always enjoyed cooking.

“I like to just fool around in the kitchen on my own to see what I come up with,” she said.

Casey Pitts attended with three of her five children. She said she had attended two demonstrations previously.

“I could watch someone do this on TV, but watching someone do it right here with things I can buy here, I look at that and I think ‘I can do that,’” she said.

Pitts said she also enjoyed meeting other moms.

“Food unified people I think,” she said.

Jeong said she planned recipes with ingredients that the attendees could buy locally. Throughout the demonstration, she would grab a bottle of something, such as rice cooking wine, and inform attendees of where she knows they could buy it.

She made salt and pepper shrimp, chicken asparagus and jasmine rice.

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