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3 Benefits of Cooking With Friends

3 Benefits of Cooking With Friends

Last Friday, I spent an entire afternoon and evening cooking with one of my oldest friends. She arrived at my house around 2:30 and stayed until midnight. It was a blast! We made mac and cheese, collard greens, a black-eyed pea recipe called Hoppin’ John, a raw apple pie and a pitcher of almond milk. Whew! It was exhausting and energizing at the same time. All weekend, I’ve been thinking about the power of cooking with friends and family. Many of us cook primarily alone, even when we’re cooking for our families. But cooking alongside a friend or family member can be a profound experience. Here are some of my thoughts about why it’s worth it to take the time and invite someone you care about into your kitchen to cook together:

1. You’ll Strengthen the Relationship

Food is nourishing on so many levels. In addition to physical nourishment, food prepared with quality ingredients – and love – has the power to heal us emotionally and spiritually, as well. Imagine a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal you enjoyed as a child and you’ll understand the magic of sharing a good meal with loved ones. When you actually have a hand in preparing the food, that magic is multiplied. Preparing a meal with a loved one is a powerful tool that helps to strengthen the bond you have with that person. Plus, it creates some lovely memories.

2. You’ll Learn Something New

This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of sharing a cooking experience. My friend is very accomplished in the kitchen. On Friday, I learned from her two different methods of making almond milk, how to make a raw pie crust, the best way to cook black-eyed peas in a pressure cooker and countless other valuable tidbits.

I’ve often tried teaching myself to prepare recipes on my own. Most of the time it works out well enough, but having a someone watch my technique and give me pointers made the learning process much more effective and prevented me from developing less than helpful habits.

3. You’ll Prepare Dishes You Might Not Attempt On Your Own

I love beans. Maybe because my mother enjoys them so I ate them pretty often growing up. But I don’t own a pressure cooker and had never prepared them that way. My friend brought hers over last week and it was a revelation. The black-eyed peas were done in no time! Now I see how valuable a pressure cooker would be and I’m planning on buying one myself.

I’ve also always been a little intimidated by the prospect of preparing raw dishes. Anytime I’ve eaten at a raw restaurant, the food has been amazing. But it’s so different from traditional cooking – different techniques and recipes, different ingredients, different ways of combining flavors and textures. But making the raw apple pie with my friend (which was delicious, by the way) showed me that raw “cooking” isn’t as foreign as I had imagined. Now I’m eager to continue to learn more about preparing raw dishes.

It’s not always easy to find enough time to cook, let alone enough to invite a friend over and spend the good part of the day in the kitchen. But it is certainly worth it! And it doesn’t have to be an all day affair. Making pancakes with your partner on a Sunday morning can have the same effect. The important part is sharing the process – and the food – with someone you love.

 

Read more: Food, Friendship, Life, Spirit, , , ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

33 comments

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4:35PM PST on Nov 27, 2012

Thanks! I love cooking with my friends!

1:53PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

I love to cook with other people, but our kitchen is really small. I cannot stand to cook with my two younger brothers though, one needs to be told what to do 30 times EVERY time, and he is 13. I think he just isn't intersted in learning how to cook, I blame his father who told him that "a kitchen was a woman place and men don't cook unless they are prissy queers" (his words not mine).

The other one eats everything before it is ready, while it is fun to cook and eat, he leaves nothing behind but a tablespoon or so of something that should be 1/2 - 1 cup.

My friend, though, has gotten into cooking, and while he moved to a different town, We do have once a month where we text what we are making and what step we are on. We try and make it the same thing, if possible, so we can share a meal together without being together.

12:06AM PST on Nov 25, 2012

true:-)

5:16PM PST on Nov 20, 2012

It sounds rally fun

5:16PM PST on Nov 20, 2012

Thanks

11:31AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

6:01PM PST on Nov 16, 2012

The kitchen is the cultural center of my home. Unless I'm home alone, I couldn't stand to have people over without them being around while I'm cooking. If' they're cooking too --- so much the better.

3:33AM PST on Nov 13, 2012

Thanks

2:43AM PST on Nov 12, 2012

i need the kitchen to myself.

3:22PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

thanks

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