HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
In an effort to give back to Holloman Airmen and harbor relationships between the base and surrounding communities, MainGate United, an organization of community leaders who prioritize providing support to nearby military installations, and Holloman AFB, collaborated to host quarterly cooking classes highlighting the food culture of New Mexico.
“One of the things that seem to bring people together is food,” said Jim Klump, MainGate United chairman. “It was a natural choice to do a cooking class especially because New Mexico has such a prominent cooking style for us to highlight.”
So far, attendees have learned how to cook flour tortillas, sopapillas, pozole, biscochitos and three sisters stew with fry bread. To maximize the impact of the class, anyone can sign up. Dorm Airmen and young adults are especially encouraged to attend to learn an artistry they can take with them wherever they go.
“I have lived here for almost 60 years and I will admit I didn’t take advantage of classes like this when I was 20 years old,” said Klump. “Cooking is a really nice life skill we want as many people to receive and they can use it for the rest of their lives.”
Not only does this class teach different ways to craft a life necessity, but the course can also introduce Airmen to local members of the community they might not meet otherwise, and vice versa.
“It’s been great because this event really opens the lines of communication between the local community and Airmen,” said Shelley Bailey, 49th Wing Public Affairs community engagement chief. “Those who attend see, cook and talk to each other often. They might even see each other around town and that’s one more person they know and could even strike up a conversation outside of class.”
Through camaraderie and fun, these sessions offer a unique way to accomplish a shared priority of the 49th Wing and MainGate United, promoting careful coordination, communication, and cooperation with all community partners.
“I always encourage people to go to these kinds of events because I have personally made life-long friends with military members stationed here,” said Klump. “There’s not a superficial motivation behind this, people tend to gravitate to those with similar interests and this cooking class can create bonds for life.”
Klump also said with the success of the cooking class and COVID-19 protocols changing, the team will look into planning to go on hiking trails and showcasing more of New Mexico history.
Past, present and future community events like this strengthen local relationships and enhance the assignment experience of Holloman Airmen and families.