Most Shared

This culinary wonder kid is cooking up something pretty special for his family.

It's not how you'd expect a kid to spend his Saturday morning. But what parent wouldn't love this?

This culinary wonder kid is cooking up something pretty special for his family.
True
Quaker Common Threads

When you were a kid, how’d you spend your Saturday mornings?

Watching cartoons?

Obviously. Photo via iStock.


Playing outside?

Bring on the mud! Photo via iStock.

What about cooking? For your entire family.

C'mon ... really?

Cooking may not sound like your typical bag of weekend fun, but 11-year-old Evan Robinson just might convince you otherwise.

Seriously. This kid has skills. Watch and learn:

By teaching kids to cook healthy meals, Common Threads encourages children to make and share meals with their families.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"When I get older, I want to be a chef," Evan proclaims in the video, and it appears he's well on his way.

Even his parents learn new tricks from him, from basics like properly measuring ingredients to tips for creative and healthful cooking.

"Dad, enough with the laser eyes. You're overcooking my frittatas."

How did an 11-year old boy become such a kitchen savant? It all started with an after-school program.

Evan is a student of Common Threads, a nonprofit organization that teaches kids in low-income communities not just why and how to choose healthy foods, but also how to cook them up into beautiful and delicious dishes.

Image via Common Threads, used with permission.

Common Threads is the shared brainchild of celebrity chef Art Smith and artist Jesus Salgueiro, a kind-hearted couple and the adoptive parents of four sibling children who believe that "family and food have the power to nurture and strengthen us, to connect us to culture and community, and to teach and excite us about our world."

Art Smith (left) and Jesus Salgueiro. Image via Art Smith/YouTube.

Common Threads' mission is to create lasting change in people's lives through the art, fun, and utility of cooking.

And as we can see with Evan and his family, it works.

For the 2016-2017 school year, Quaker is partnering with Common Threads to fund its Family Cooking Classes so the whole family can learn about the importance of nutrition while cooking up some fun memories together.

"I am inspired by the unique impact that Common Threads classes make on the children and families who participate," said Becky Frankiewicz, senior vice president and general manager of Quaker Foods North America, "and look forward to empowering even more children to be agents of change for improving family eating habits."

Researchers have found evidence that highlights the importance of connecting food and family.

A 2014 report by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that families that cook and eat together are more likely to eat healthier. But the benefits of family meals actually go beyond dietary health to also strengthen family bonds.

As Angela Ginn, a diet and nutrition expert with the academy, says in the report: "Beyond preparing the meal itself, we sometimes forget that mealtimes offer time to talk, listen and build family relationships."

The Common Threads model is poised to make a huge impact.

More than 23 million people in the U.S. live in food deserts — areas of extreme poverty with limited access to healthy and affordable food options and with higher rates of health problems linked to poor nutrition, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Photo via iStock.

Common Threads is on the front line of a huge social, public health, and even moral crisis. But you know what makes them especially promising?

While they remind us that changing the world starts with training our minds — which, to be sure, requires effort (sometimes in a kitchen) — they also show us it can still be fun.

True

Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

Keep Reading Show less

This article originally appeared on 06.16.15


A lot of parents are tired of being told how technology is screwing up their kids.

Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of the growing competition for their children's attention, and they're bombarded at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and newfound worries for raising great kids.

Keep Reading Show less