A new series of cooking classes has started up in Neosho.

Mary McCreery will lead “Culinary Awareness: Nourishment for the Mind and Body,” to be held the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Advantage Health Care on the Neosho Boulevard.
McCreery is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes education and holistic health practitioner in the area. The classes are open to anyone.

NDN: What is the main purpose of Culinary Awareness: Nourishment for the Mind and Body classes?
McCreery: As we move into a new era of health care, people are becoming more aware of the need for preventive medicine and the importance of good nutrition on our health. I am trying to show that people can enjoy healthy food that tastes great. The idea, "if it tastes good, spit it out" is not true. Every class will have a nutrition lesson with the cooking component.

NDN: You had your first class on Aug. 20. How did it go?
McCreery: The first class went very well. One lady took home the recipe and spaghetti squash we made in class thinking her husband would NOT eat it. He stated that he would eat it again when she fixed it at home.

NDN: Talk a little bit about your first class and what you prepared.
McCreery: I prepared a spaghetti squash. Many people know that you can fix a spaghetti squash and use it like noodles. Just put tomato meat sauce over it. So I prepared it like a lasagna, layer it back into the shell topped with cheese and baked. I also had a cake sample, where the squash is used like coconut. I also discussed how to pick out a ripe squash and how to preserve it to last over the winter.
Classes include with herbs on Sept. 17; Apples, Apples on Oct. 15; Aromatics on Nov. 19; Turkey on Dec. 17; Healthy Super Bowl Snacks on Jan. 20; Heart Health on Feb. 18; Sugar Substitute Comparisons on March 18; Spring Greens on April 15; Great Grains on May 20; Gluten Free on June 17; and Canning Salsa on July 15.

NDN: It looks like these meals can be for one person or up to a family. How did you choose these types of ingredients?
McCreery: I base the recipes on simple ingredients. I do not like to give recipes that require many ingredients that people cannot find in this area or recipes that are difficult to prepare.

NDN: Is this the first time that you have done this type of class?
McCreery: Yes, this is the first time I have presented this type of class. I have taken many cooking classes myself but I have never taken any that had a nutritional education component added.

NDN: Not to give anything away, but talk a little bit about the class in September.
McCreery: I will fix a recipe with fresh herbs.  People like to grow herbs but then are unsure how to use them. I will discuss the difference between spices and herbs and give several ways to preserve herbs to use through the winter months. Everyone will go home with an herb or seeds to plant their own herbs.

NDN: Anything else you would like to add?
McCreery: I want this class to be fun, interactive as well as educational. The group size is limited to 12 so that there will be plenty of time for questions. This is why I am offering a discount for pre-registering. The class is $40 at the door, but if you pre-register it is $30. It also helps me to know how much to prepare.

For more information, call 850-2013 or email at marymcry@yahoo.com