This morning I came across a post on a blog called "LDS Young Women" that explains that we can indeed prepare and cook food at the church, IF the food preparation and cooking is part of a lesson or class about cooking. See the post here, which references the church handbook:
Here is a link to the page of the Church Handbook of Instructions on lds.org where this information was found: http://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/selected-church-policies/21.2?lang=eng#212
So from what I now understand, we can actually include cooking at the church as part of our Young Womens activities if we are teaching a lesson about food preparation or cooking.
Teach the girls how to make bread in the church kitchen - GOOD
Cook 2 roasts and 5 trays of potatoes for a funeral in the church kitchen - NOT GOOD
Have a mutual activity about making homemade spaghetti sauce in the church kitchen - GOOD
Make pancakes and eggs in the church kitchen for a ward breakfast - NOT GOOD
I don't mean to imply that we should start cooking in the kitchen for everything and call it a "lesson" - (ie, we need to make some roasts for a funeral, so lets have some YW come to the church and watch so we can get away with it) that is not what I mean... but what I DO mean is that we can use the kitchen for teaching the girls about cooking, which is something that I have definately avoided in the past because of my misunderstanding about the church kitchen cooking policies.
Thank you "LDS Young Women" blog for clarifying this!!!
Many young women are not comfortable with cooking - and many do not have parents who can teach them to cook (because they are too busy or don't cook themselves). Here are some ideas for easy recipes that would be good for beginning cooks/bakers. When making this list, my criteria was that the recipe should have #1- simple ingredients and be easy to make, and #2- be something that the girls could eat right away when its done. These are not gourmet meals - my intent is just to get the girls excited about things that they can make and to show them that cooking/baking isn't as difficult as they may think (click on photos for recipes):
Two-ingredient pumpkin muffins:
Cinnamon-rolls in waffle-iron (using pre-made rolls:
No-cook pico de gallo salsa:
*This bread would require pre-mixing the dough before the activity because it needs to sit for several hours or more BEFORE it is kneaded, risen, and baked. If you want the girls to get the full process, they can mix a batch of bread, but then instead of waiting for it to sit for hours, use a seperate batch of pre-mixed dough (that you have prepared ahead of time) to do the kneading, rising, and baking part. So they would get the whole process without waiting hours....