Cooking with Friends!
A few years ago, my friend’s extended family were commenting on how they never seem to have enough time to catch up. So, they created Cooking with Friends. Her mother’s circle was becoming smaller, so my friend wanted an activity that could connect with several generations. They decided to get together occasionally to cook a meal. She explains how it works below.
How do you plan a Cooking with Friends group?
The host comes up with a dinner dish that can be prepared in advance. The host purchases all the necessary ingredients. If there are any time-consuming preparations, the host might do that in advance. The host tells everyone what their financial share is and what pans, bowls, or containers they need to transport the finished product home.
How often do you recommend getting together?
We get together about every 6 weeks. We decide the next date before the end of the gathering. We get together about 6 times a year to cook and once for a Christmas cookie baking event.
What age groups do you recommend and what about ethnic diversity in the group?
There is a large age range, 4 generations. An important element of this plan is connecting those generations and passing down information. The more variety of ethnic diversity, the more recipes!
What kind of things do you cook? My mother was able to demonstrate how easy it was to make handmade crepes for manicotti. The younger cooks said they would have never tried it, but it was so easy when she showed them. It really instills confidence for inexperienced cooks. At Christmastime, we do a cookie exchange where we bring cookies already made and cook one or two recipes together.
What are the portions people cook? We make enough so each person is bringing home enough to feed 4. A good group size is 4-6 cooks.
Who buys the supplies? Do you have a budget? The host buys the supplies. No, budget but the max has been $12 a person, the minimum was $5 a person. Dinner for 4 for $12 is not bad!
What else is important to know? I think a group of 4 is best, 6 will work if you have the space. If someone that has a small kitchen, they may want to host when they can use the outdoor space or the grill. My daughter hosted this past weekend and has a smaller kitchen. She set up 2 Costco tables on her deck with 2 pasta machines so there were extra workstations. The dough was made in the kitchen and rolled out and cut on the patio, so most of the floury mess was outside. Everyone helps clean up! Then we sit down and have a snack.
Do you have healthy options? We make the recipe “by the book”. However, we share tips on how to make it healthier and more economical. The vegetable dishes tend to be healthy. It is fun to learn new things and helps keep us connected.