Cooking together is such good fun. Julia Child
There’s something about making food that creates a bond like a real good super glue. One of the first cooking groups I was a part of was composed of six women. We were all connected by friendships once removed. One of my friends brought one of her friends whom I didn’t know and so forth.
Well, it might have taken us a five weeks to get to know each other if we were meeting at a coffee shop. But this group of mostly introverts became fast friends as we studied recipes together, compared versions of different bakers ideas on how to make the best chocolate croissants and gathered around the table to eat the delicious meals our hands had made together.
We were a pretty easy going bunch and I love the spirit we shared together. Food breaks down barriers between people and creates bridges where none existed before. I don’t know why, but the language of sharing a meal brings so much life into my living. As I recall, we were going through some pretty heavy stuff, but it all seemed less stressful and more its-all-going-to-be-okay because we went through it together.
Not all cooking groups will share the depth of that original one, but each one is special. Cooking groups are a great way to connect with people and it’s something different than going out to dinner or coffee.
If you’re thinking of having a baking party or a cooking club this autumn, here are a few tips to get you started. And when you do start, send me a picture of your group. I’d love to see you and what you’re making.
- Try a new recipe.
Occasionally the groups I’m in bring favorites recipes from our own collection, but usually we try something new.
Life goes so fast, most nights I’m searching for something easy and no-fail, not an experiment. If you have kids, this has to be even more true. How often do we eat for functionality and not for joy.
Getting together for a cooking group is a great way to try out the recipes you’ve been collecting on Pinterest or your favorite food magazine. And if it really turns out, maybe that recipe will go into your tried and true collection! Fun!
- Try a challenge.
After all, there’s safety in numbers! How bad could it be? Our dinners rang from beginner to intermediate home cake in their difficulty range, but for desserts, we go for the gusto. We intentionally choose desserts we are a little gun shy to try on our own.
In the original group, we experimented with desserts like chocolate croissants (it took us eight hours, but we did it!) and salted caramel bread pudding (the Cooking Light version- so yummy).
It was all so good, plus we had such a blast figuring out the various methods. There was always one person who “got it,” and taught the rest of us how to do it. So many good meals made together.
- Meet together for a season.
Some good things last forever, but most groups are seasonal. The first group I was in lasted for about eight months. I think we ended it because one of us moved and someone else was getting married and the group separated organically.
Try a group for a few months or even one night. Grab a group of friends and invite them over to cook together. Don’t pressure yourself into thinking everyone has to become life long friends or it has to last for a year. Maybe this is a great way for a group of women at the office to get together and get to know each other for one evening.
- Divide the tasks.
No one should be in charge of everything. That goes from fun to overwhelming in a big hurry. How you divide the tasks is totally your choice.
We divided it by dishes. Someone would volunteer for a part of the dinner and we’d take turns (main dish, sides, drinks). We’d all agree on the dessert to make, that was our fun part. I think it was in my home for the first group. In my current group, we meet at a friend’s home.
- Expect to make memories.
You hardly have to try to have a good time at a cooking group. Come expecting to enjoy the time together, to eat good food, to share laughter and learn new things about the group.
Your turn: Have you been a part of a cooking club? Maybe you have a special friend and the two of you get together and bake often….tell me your story in the comments below! I love to hear other people’s cooking adventures!