By Kristan Sveda The Examiner
While many health experts tout “staying active” as important for adults to keep their minds and bodies sharp, exercise, eating healthy, and doing crossword puzzles isn’t enough to keep our brain function young. Scientific research has shown us that learning new skills rather than just maintaining skills we already have can keep our minds as sharp in our 70s as they were in our 30s if we continually challenge ourselves. Lucky for us, we live in a community that has myriad choices around us for learning new things, from improving our ability to wield a kitchen knife to how to photograph a wild animal.
Yonkers resident Melanie Underwood has a skill all of us could use from time to time and she shares it with her students through her private cooking class, “Cooking From Your Pantry.” The class can be in person at your home or done virtually. Students learn to cook with what they have on hand and without a recipe. With 26 years of experience, she has learned how to connect with students whether in person or virtually. “I grew up on a farm and we frequently had friends and neighbors over for dinner,” says Underwood. “We cooked as a family and this has shaped my goals for what people experience. Personal connections are missing in many spaces and I provide a sense of connection and caring.” With her guidance, she teaches students how to get creative and resourceful in the kitchen, how to layer flavors, which flavors work well together, and how to create a well-stocked pantry. “Because each class is different, many people sign up for class more than once.” The next classes will be June 29 and July 24. Prices range from $50 for group virtual classes to $450 for private in-home classes. melanieunderwood.com