Start a Cooking Club

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!

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

Welcome to Eating Rules!

Hi! My name is Andrew Wilder, and I think healthy eating doesn’t have to suck. With just three simple eating rules, we'll kickstart your journey into the delicious and vibrant world of unprocessed food.

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January 19, 2013 4:59 pm

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!

January 19, 2013 4:15 pm

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… Read more »

January 19, 2013 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!

January 19, 2013 12:54 pm

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 =)

Dana @FoodieGoesHealthy
January 18, 2013 4:51 pm

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.

Ellen T
January 18, 2013 4:40 pm

This is such a fun idea! I belong to a small book club (we call ourselves Book & Cook) and when we meet each month the host ususally themes the dinner to go with the book. I’d love to have a once a month cooking club that creates the meal together. I have several foodie friends who have taken technique classes that I’d like to learn from. I think I’ll put this idea out to my local friends on Face Book!

January 18, 2013 4:10 pm

This is fantastic idea! Graham Kerr had a cookbook out several years ago called The Gathering Place with a similar theme and it might serve as a good resource for menu ideas for a cooking club. The idea was to cook/eat with your friends, the recipes are healthy, and there are modifcations for vegetarian and meat options.

January 18, 2013 3:05 pm

Fabulous idea!

January 18, 2013 2:06 pm

We do it and we call it mommy day care.

The tradition started when I made tamales at Christmas and shared them with neighbors. It was not as much fun making them alone so I asked some friends over. Now we take turns and share cooking and recipes regularly. This month we are sharing our favorite soups!

January 18, 2013 1:56 pm

We have done this a few times and it is fun and exhausting at the same time. It’s fun to plan the meal together, too. We all learn something and some people do demos, too! It’s nice if people bring a copies of the recipe to share. Have fun.