Creating Community in the Kitchen (Video)
Eco-chef, author, and food justice activist Bryant Terry has made it his life’s work to bring people together through delicious, healthy, sustainable food. In this clip from Nourish, Terry celebrates the pleasures of cooking with friends and family.
Sharing the Kitchen
Cooking together provides an intimate way to share and participate in the story of your food with friends and family. It creates a space to pass on kitchen knowledge, recipes, and traditions, while spending quality time together. Whether you’re preparing dinner with your kids or hosting a meal with friends, many hands make for light—and fun—work in the kitchen.
- Make a plan. Set a date and time to make and enjoy a home-cooked meal together. Involve everyone in the planning process. You might browse cookbooks, or let your children choose the menu.
- Try new foods. Explore ways to expand your repertoire. Find out what’s in season in your area and create a simple, healthy menu around those offerings. Discover an ingredient or cuisine you’ve never cooked before.
- Get organized. Read your recipes ahead of time to create your shopping list and get a sense of how much time you’ll need to prepare.
- Forage together. Make an adventure of looking through the pantry, taking a trip to the farmers market or store, or gathering herbs from your garden.
- Get equipped. Check that you have all the necessary cooking equipment and utensils. Clear space, so there’s plenty of room for everyone to work. When cooking with children, make sure they have a comfortable, kid-friendly workspace.
- Work together. Make sure everyone has a task, whether it’s grating cheese, picking music, reading the recipe, setting the table, or washing dishes. Rotate responsibilities, and find ways to team up and work together.
- Be safe. Supervise children, provide kid-safe utensils, and educate each other about kitchen safety. Be careful around hot stoves and ovens, and always wash and put knives away when not in use.
- Savor the process. Remember that cooking is not just a means to an end. Take breaks to talk about the process and taste while cooking. Use meal prep and mealtime as an opportunities to create community and enjoy each other’s company.
Cooking together supports adults and young people who are new to the kitchen by providing a space to learn, grow, and get comfortable preparing meals from scratch. For families, kitchen time both strengthens bonds, and nourishes a curiosity, confidence, and appetite for cooking that will empower children throughout their lives.
As a chef, Bryant Terry loves introducing people to the pleasures of cooking. “Once people are actually in the kitchen, and chopping up vegetables, and sautéing things, and actually being a part of that preparation process, it makes people a little less hesitant to do it themselves,” he says. For more tips, check out the Nourish website.
Eat Grub provides healthy “grub” party recipes from Bryant Terry’s cookbook, coauthored with Anna Lappé. Visit Parent Earth for fun food and cooking how-to videos for the whole family. PBS parents provides additional tips for introducing children to the kitchen at Cooking with Kids.
How do you create community through food?