Start a Cooking Club

January 18, 2013 9:32 am
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Start a Cooking Club

Yours truly, making some mozzarella…

During yesterday’s #Attune Twitter chat*, in which I posed several questions about reading food labels, the conversation shifted from a spirited one about labels to an even more enthusiastic one about bringing back Home Economics classes and the sad fact that many people no longer know how to cook (Sandra Lee doesn’t count!).

At the end of the chat, Annelies asked a terrific question: How can you help just one person in your circle learn how to read labels or cook?

That got me thinking. How could I do that? I know from comments and emails I receive that I have a positive impact through my blog, but in my personal circle? How many friends have I actually helped learn to cook? (Granted, I’m not the world’s greatest cook, either, so I’m happy to learn from my friends and family, too!)

I then realized the best way to help someone learn how to cook is simply to cook with them. That’s how children learn from their parents,of course. I remember cooking in the kitchen with my mom (and with dad on the weekends for pancakes). I also learned a lot by cooking with my college roommate Jim (to this day, I remain grateful to him every time I dice an onion and manage not to cut myself).

So how can we get people cooking together? Sure, you can invite a friend over to cook dinner with you – that’s certainly a great start. But what if we take it further? There’s been a resurgence in “Book Clubs” in the past couple of years, right? Where everyone chooses a book to read that month, and then they get together to discuss it?

Well, how about Cooking Clubs?

Say you get together a group of six friends, and once or twice a month you all meet at someone’s house, taking turns of course, to get together and cook dinner. One person hosts. One person makes the appetizer. Two friends make the entrée. One person makes a (healthy!) dessert. And one person does the dishes.

Or get four friends together, and meet up one night each week, so each person hosts once a month. You get the idea.

I know I’m not the first person to come up with this idea. “Supper clubs” have existed for a while (and here are some good tips for those) but these days it seems it’s more likely that people are going to get together at a restaurant for dinner. Or people will cook their dishes at home and then bring them, like a potluck.

To be clear, I’m specifically not talking about a potluck where people show up with completed dishes. I’m talking about six people in the kitchen, making dinner together from start to finish. Sure, you might need a bigger kitchen, but do what you can. Set up a prep station in the living room if you have too! Get someone outside with the BBQ. Do whatever it takes to cook. Together.

I bet everyone will learn something. It’ll be a ton of fun, too.

What do you think? Could you find five other people interested in doing this with you? Why not email them right now and get your cooking club started?

* I’m a proud Brand Ambassador for Attune Foods. Part of the fun is our weekly twitter chat on Wednesdays at 9am Pacific, 12pm Eastern. We all follow the #attune hashtag, and discuss various food & health related topics. I hope you’ll join us next week!

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31 Comments on "Start a Cooking Club"
  1. Comment left on:
    January 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm
    Dana @FoodieGoesHealthy says:

    Hi Andrew- I love this post. I have a monthly cooking club with friends. We enjoying being together as much as we enjoy sharing recipes with each other. We learn from each other and have grown close to one another. I highly recommend; it’s worth the effort.

  2. Comment left on:
    January 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm
    Jamie says:

    What a fun idea!!! Granted, I’m in such a small space it’d be hard to have anyone over… lol

    I may have to go over to a friends house and help her with cooking, she’s been asking as of late =)

  3. Comment left on:
    January 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Andrew, I love this idea. It actually reminds me a lot of the book I’ve been reading: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She suggests that one of the best ways to make lasting friendships that help you feel happy and connected, is to start a project together. A cooking project sounds like just the thing. I’ve never done a cooking club, it’s usually me just cooking for others or potluck style. I like the idea of us all working together, also sounds like a gateway to a lot of laughter which I love!

  4. Comment left on:
    January 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm
    Emily says:

    7 of my girlfriends and I created a cooking club a year ago! We love it. We put all our cuisine ideas in a jar and draw for the next month at the end of the night (which have even consisted of Colors (every dish’s main ingredient was an assigned color) and secret ingredient – but we also do regular cuisines like Italian, Greek, etc).We sign up for a dish (appetizer, main, salad, 2 sides, dessert). That only makes 6 recipes, so sometimes we split the cost of the main and cook it together, and sometimes we add in a drink. But we very rarely have all 8 people come due to life events.

    We meet monthly and bring all the ingredients over. Everyone cooks their own recipe and if someone is finished cooking, we help each other out. We start at 5:30 and after eating and laughing, we end around 9:30 or 10. There is so much laughter that we even keep a book of crazy things people say! I think we’ll add a few of those quotes to our anniversary cookbook with all the recipes from the past year.

  5. Comment left on:
    January 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    Dad says:

    As adults, or should I say older adults, parties have gotten somewhat routine: Social events where one stands around (or sits) and drinks, eats, and talks, with not much other activity. Nice, but it’s gotten routine, and sometimes a bit boring (depending on the company, of course). Not much dancing, no more party games, not even spin the bottle :)

    So you have given us a wonderful idea of a party activity. Not just inviting people over for dinner but where (making) the dinner itself becomes the party function. Can’t wait to do it!

  6. Comment left on:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm
    Tanya says:

    Well funny you should mention it because a coworker mentioned starting to do just this! We start on the 26th!

  7. Comment left on:
    January 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I am a huge proponent of cooking clubs both in person and now virtual ala Tasting Jerusalem and French Fridays w Dorie. @DormantChef and I were in a cooking group for 10 years and it was possibly the most fun social events we’ve ever been to. We had a great camaraderie and just thoroughly enjoyed the prep, planning, cooking, drinking!, and general uproarious and fantastically yummy good time. I am joining a new club organized by @yumivore and am also loving how we are all motivating each other in the Tasting Jerusalem group. Cooking together rocks in every possibly way! Yay for cooking clubs!

  8. Comment left on:
    January 21, 2013 at 6:40 am
    Gail says:

    Great idea Andrew–especially in our disconnected world where people do everything online and not face to face. Also think it would be great for teens and young adults.

  9. Comment left on:
    February 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    This is such a great idea! I just recently moved to Los Angeles and don’t know many people here yet… But I think looking around for a cooking club would be a great way to meet some new people. Thanks for the idea!

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