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Cooking Co-op

July 15, 2010

There are many ways to organize a cooking co-op, from a freezer meal exchange, to a soup exchange, to cooking together with friends. What we do is this:

Who: 4 families

When: Once a week

What: Exchange meals. Each person/family cooks a large meal each week, enough for themselves and all 3 other families. Then we meet up and exchange the meals 1 day a week. Each family goes home with not only their own home-cooked meal, but 3 other ones for the week! Needles to say, it saves a lot of time, work and dishes, and shopping for ingredients for multiple meals. Not to mention we get to try new things without eating out!

That’s it, really. Pretty simple. The book suggested various options for organizing the co-op, including delivering dinners to other people’s doors on rotating nights. With our setup we have to cook meals that will keep for a few days, but it works well for us, as we all see each other once a week anyway.

We got the idea from the book, Dinner At your Door: Tips and Recipes for Starting a Neighborhood Cooking Co-op.

We had been doing a dinner club at the time, where a group of 4 or so families took turns hosting the group for dinner on Thursday nights. Then Benecia gave up naps and started going to bed early. Dinner club started at 630, often way across town. Bedtime also started at 630. This presented a little problem for us. Now, problem solved, we have a Sunday potluck club that meets at 4pm in rotating parks, but now we also have the Cooking Co-op, where we exchange meals. The potluck club is definitely social time, whereas the Cooking Co-op is about getting a heap of home cooked meals each week.

The Soup above is what we made this week. One of our favorites, adapted from the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Fresh Food Fast, for Spicy Coconut Sweet Potato Soup with collard greens and jasmine rice, topped with mint, cilantro and lime! I love the recipes in this book, and that they are organized by season of the year. Tonight we had some delicious homemade chicken soup from another family.

Loving this!

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