MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- More than twenty spouses participated in the class, each equipped with an apron, work station and drive to learn something new.
Marine Corps Family Team Building's Life Skills program helped organize the event. The goal was to take provided ingredients and create a chicken Parmesan dish with instruction by chefs from the Officers’ Club.
In addition to becoming acquainted with a higher level of cooking, the spouses were also able to become acquainted with each other.
“Every month we try to do at least one event for our spouses so they can get together and meet new people,” said Ruby Zunino, Family Readiness Officer, 1/7.
The participants in the class went through each step to make the dish, following instruction from the three chefs a basic cooking techniques handbook. From placing pasta into boiling water to pounding the raw chicken with a cooking mallet, the spouses were quickly successful in perfecting their dishes.
“We can also help teach here at the club, and I think that’s the best part,” said Amber Felli, manager, Officers’ Club. “It's nice to help out Marines’ and sailors' families.”
As the cooking progressed, the club quickly filled with the hot and delicious smell of chicken, vegetables, and spices.
“I thought this class was interesting,” said Ashley Ciganek, spouse of Lance Cpl. Jacob Ciganek, A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “It was simple and I will likely make this myself very soon.”
When all of the dishes were complete, the spouses sat together to eat.
“Seeing the spouses here with each other was great,” Felli said. “It’s nice to bring the community together.”
Afterwards, a handful of sweet ingredients were used to finish the night with some dessert.
The next goal was to make a “five-minute” strawberry ice cream, utilizing frozen strawberries, sugar, and heavy cream in a blender.
“With this class I learned the in-depth techniques like sautéing the onions,” Ciganek said. “Learning to make ice cream was a nice bonus.”
The two-hour class left spouses happy with what they had learned and shared. For the club, more spouse’s cooking classes are lined up for different units in the upcoming weeks, allowing even more military spouses to network and learn new things.
“We want our family support to be strong as the Marines prepare for deployment next year,” Zunino said.