Michael Hansen and Inta Šrādere

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Why Kalamazoo????

Inta and I are relatively new transplants from the south Chicago suburbs to Kalamazoo. We would like to share some of the discoveries that we made and why we feel Kalamazoo is a great place to live and raise a family.

Our reason for relocating here is twofold. First, Inta’s sister (a Kalamazoo resident) who lives by herself fell and broke her hip. She needed assistance with her recovery and we were the logical choice to give her aide. Secondly, our grandchildren live in Lawrence, Michigan (25 miles down the road) and grandchildren are an excuse in and of themselves, nuff said.

Since the move we have discovered many delightful aspects of our new environment. First, Inta and her family immigrated to the US of A in 1949. She found that our new proximity to the Latvian church and Community Center gave her the opportunity to become more closely involved in the Latvian community than she was able to in Chicago (45 miles traversing through Chicago to get to the Church and School).

Other discoveries which we have made:

1.)    The Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts – great small Art Museum and school.

Kalamazoo Institute Of Arts

2.)    The Kalamazoo Art Fair – community event that attracts artists from throughout Michigan.

3.)    Art Hop – Friday evening event (throughout the summer) that highlights the works of local artists.

4.)    Music in the Park. Free summer outdoor concerts in the Downtown Park – easy access and fun and various venues.

5.)    Kalamazoo Nature Center.


6.)    Kellogg Bird Sanctuary – not in Kzoo but close enough and very peaceful.

7.)    Grand Rapids – 30-40 miles north. A larger city that is very accessible and offers many attractions which we have become enamored:

a.) Frederick Meijers Gardens and Sculpture Park – great horticultural gardens interspersed with the sculptural arts.

b.) Grand Rapids Art Museum – Larger and more exhibits that the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts.

c.) Gerald Ford Presidential Museum – Great Historical Venue.


Michigan also offers fantastic outdoor recreational opportunities including numerous campgrounds (all Michigan campsites that we have visited have been exceptionally clean and very well maintained), Many lakes and streams provide kayaking, fishing and bird watching opportunities, great hiking trails, biking venues including the Michigander, and much, much more.

The colleges in Kalamazoo also provide sports venues that while not professional, are of a high caliber. Ice hockey, football, baseball, tennis (National Junior Championships are played in Kzoo annually), and probably many more that we have not discovered.

The colleges also offer musical and stage venues that are affordable and fun.

Latvian Tradtional Piragi

This is what people are saying about Latvian cooking class:

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What began as an opportunity to rediscover traditional Latvian foods, cooking methods and recipes, has grown to include more recent food introductions and recipes that Latvians, both here and abroad have come to appreciate. Recipes that bridge the variation from farm peasant foods to elite restaurant cuisine are explored and shared here.

Many of our home cooks participate and offer their unique variations of traditional recipes, as well as discoveries that they have made and come to love.

I am so happy that you are offering Latvian cooking class for Latvians AND Americans.
I love to meet new people and have great food and wine !!!!!!
So much fun !!!!

Great project; I just love it!
What a fun evening!! So delicious!
Very good energy; the people are so friendly; superb meals!!!!


It is so cool to watch the presentations and have hands on; I can’t wait for the next class!
It is so great to meet new people and have great meals, wine and music!
No kidding, this is the best class I have attended in 20 years!


Oh, I wish I would have discovered this class years ago!  You will have to repeat your recipes!!!!!!
Easy and delicious and so much fun!!!
Well done; good project!
Latvian rye bread is so delicious!
Latvian cooking class brings together people from different backgrounds and cultures and we all feel so integrated!  I am amazed that people stay after the class, mingle, share their experiences, laugh. So much fun !