Cooking up a storm with other people will boost your life in so many ways.
What is a batch cooking club?
A batch cooking club is a group of people who get together for the purpose of cooking up a bunch of dishes. If they are lucky enough to get together in person, they can each take home a container filled with a bit of every dish. If they meet virtually on Zoom, then they may all follow a shared set of recipes, or each cook their own thing.
You can join an existing cooking club organized via community organizations or Meetup groups or led by online food educators such as myself, or create your own with a few friends or family members.
It’s better to meet regularly, at least once per month, but even a one-off event will have benefits.
Why batch cooking clubs are amazing
The range of benefits from participating in a batch cooking club is so broad that it’s hard to imagine something in your life it wouldn’t improve! Here are some of the most obvious ones.
You fill your fridge with homemade delicious and nutritious food
In a single, 2-to-3-hour batch cooking session with a few cooking mates, you will likely end up with at least three to five (or more!) dishes to take home in family-sized portions. That means:
- you don’t eat toast for dinner;
- you have great lunches;
- you avoid the temptation of ordering expensive and greasy food;
- you cut back on salty processed food with dubious ingredients;
- you decrease the food and packaging waste associated with restaurant and processed foods.
Best of all, when you warm up the dishes, they taste even better than when they were freshly made (because the flavors had a chance to meld and develop) and you enjoy the memories of the moments spent together with your cooking mates.
You increase your odds of showing up in the kitchen
Many of us recognize the potential power of regular batch cooking and meal prep, but few of us actually do it week after week after week.
Having a set date in the kitchen with a group makes it a lot more likely that you will show up to cook. It’s the same kind of accountability that comes from a running group.
You expand your palate
Let’s face it: many of us are stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking and eating. We stick to the same familiar dishes and have the same meals over and over again. When we cook together and each choose a recipe, we get to expand the boundaries of our plates and discover new ingredients, traditions, and flavors.
You learn from other people and grow your own confidence
Most of us know more than we think about cooking by virtue of having cooked many meals in the past. When you cook with others, you soon discover that different families and traditions have different ways of doing certain tasks, and it’s not only fun but also effective to learn tricks from others. We all have something to share that will enhance someone else’s life! Cooking together is an opportunity to shine together.
You create friendships and grow community
Working together at a common goal, or even working in parallel at the same goal, grows the depth of our relationships and creates connections that don’t necessarily arise from pure leisurely pursuits. Kitchens are also an intimate setting to share stories without feeling on the spot, because everyone’s ears can be on one’s words while their eyes are on their cutting boards. Existing friends and relatives will create memories together, and acquaintances will become friends.
Get yourself into a batch cooking club now
Now get organized to do some batch cooking with others. Here are some ways you can go about it to be part of a group this coming weekend:
- Text a couple of friends or relatives. Three or four total is a good number, five is a crowd. Invite them over to your kitchen — say this coming Sunday at 1 pm — and have each cook decide on one recipe they will take the lead on, bringing the ingredients for it. Everyone brings their own containers, too. Declutter your kitchen a bit to make space and make sure to have a good playlist ready to go. Psst! If you have kids it’s okay to set them up with a movie while you cook.
- Committed to or curious about plant-based cooking? Consider joining my Plant-based Cooking Club. We meet online two or three times per month, I always provide a demo of some useful plant-based cooking techniques, and the recipes and meal plans are included.
- Google it! Search for cooking clubs in your area. Meetup.com is also a great place to search for in-person and even online events about cooking in your area.
What are you waiting for?
Brigitte Gemme is a vegan food educator, meal planner, and coach. After a PhD in sociology of higher education and a 15-year career in research management, she got impatient with the slow pace of planet-friendly change and decided to help individuals live a gentler life. If you need help deciding what’s for dinner, check out her meal plans at VeganFamilyKitchen.com. If you need personal guidance and accountability to embrace a gentler lifestyle and better habits, consider signing up for a free week with her on coach.me using coupon code BRIGITTEWEEK. Brigitte loves nothing more than helping more people make a habit of eating more plants.