What: "Eat With Your Hands."
When: Noon-1 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St.
Cooking together has innumerable benefits for families, said Jayne Griffin, education director at the Creative Discovery Museum.
Next weekend, the CDM will welcome chef Yasushi Watanabe of Sushi Nabe to demonstrate sushi making in workshop titled "Eat With Your Hands." The program is part of ArtsLive.
"The benefits [of the program] are invaluable," said Griffin.
She said they include learning about other cultures, trying new food and discovering the benefits of eating a variety of fruites and vegetables.
According to a 2011 study at Columbia University in New York City, teens who have infrequent family dinners (less than three per week) are almost four times likelier to use tobacco, more than twice as likely to drink alcohol and two and a half times likelier to use marijuana.
Public relations coordinator Carrie Fitzsimmons said the museum has found success before with cooking lessons. Last year, she said, the museum had a day of pizza making using vegetables grown in the CDM rooftop garden.
"It's neat for the kids to see a chef within the community come to do culinary lessons," she said.
Watanabe said some of the children have never seen sushi, so it's an opportunity to educate them.
"They're happy to see it," he said, of his previous work with children at Normal Park Museum Magnet School.
Creating a food from an Asian culture coordinates with the closing of the "Children of Hangzhou" exhibit, though Hangzhou is in China and sushi is part of the Japanese culinary culture. Children who visit the museum next weekend will have a chance to learn about two Eastern cultures in one day.
Fitzsimmons said she believes taking part in the preparation process can give the children greater appreciation for the food they are eating and can even help to alleviate some pickiness. After all, what better way to get over a fear of broccoli than to help prepare a dish made with it.
"When they're actively participating and making their food, I think it helps them with eating their food," she said. "It makes them want to try foods they've never tasted before."
Contact Holly Leber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber. Subscribe to her on Facebook at facebook.com/holly.j.leber.