The National Institutes of Health spent $30,000 on a conference dedicated to researching the best practices utilized in “teaching kitchens,” where people learn how to cook.
In February, the “inaugural 2018 Research Day on Teaching Kitchens and Related Self Care Practices” was hosted by the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Napa Valley, California.
A “teaching kitchen” is essentially a home economics course, which also includes elements of mindfulness and “health coaching.”
The research day featured a presentation by Google’s “Director of Food,” who said that the idea of teaching people how to cook was a “young and emerging field.”
“This will be the first conference co-sponsored by the CIA and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, both of which have jointly established the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative (TKC), an organization with 32 member organizations in the U.S., Italy, and Japan, each of which has developed a ‘teaching kitchen’ program,” stated the federal grant.
“This inaugural conference is motivated by the need to develop an evidence-base for the field of ‘teaching kitchens’—a young and emerging field which has not yet been subjected to formal research,” according to the grant.
The goal of the grant was to research “best practices” utilized in teaching kitchens, which are of “great interest” to the scientific community.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that the founders of the “Teaching Kitchen Collaborative” aspire to “improve the way people eat, move, and think.”
“A teaching kitchen can be described as a virtual learning laboratory for life skills,” according to an instructional guide written by the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative’s “Best Practices Committee.” “As envisioned, teaching kitchens offer education in basic cooking techniques in addition to other self-care topics like enhanced nutrition, mindfulness, physical activity, and behavioral health coaching.”
Other presentations at the conference included “Intersection of Food Systems and Health” and “The Food Story: An Effective Tool for Behavior Change.”
The NIH also made a presentation, “Possibilities for the Future of Teaching Kitchen Research,” during which the agency noted that they could spend more money in the future studying how to teach people to cook.