I have added a little something special to my culinary journey, and it's taken up much of my free thought time lately. It's a little something called Gourmet Dinners, which I was introduced to me by a friend and fellow foodie (and much better baker than I). I feel the need to share this on my blog since I think it is a fun opportunity not just for me and my peeps, but should be passed on in a hope to inspire more groups like this.
Here's how it works: Gather a group of 5 - 8 ladies, men, or both. One member is the host - this person creates a full menu with recipes - one course for each participant. For example, the following line up could work for a 7 member group: appetizers, salad, entree, vegetable, side dish, dessert and drinks. The menu can be themed, or not, as long as all courses work together to create a beautiful, harmonious meal. Pick a date for each month - our group is looking at the last Saturday of every month. For every meeting a new host plans the evening, is in charge of the entree and assigns the other courses out to everyone else. You can make a schedule for each month, working on a rotation, so no one gets stuck making vegetables three times in a row. I am hosting our first Dinner, so then next time I will be making the vegetable, the person making the vegetable at my dinner is then in charge of the side dish, the side dish person is now on dessert, and so on. I think this is such a great way to try out new foods, cooking techniques and styles, plus we finally make time to see each others homes (and perhaps get some decorating tips along the way). I know we all get stuck in a food rut from time to time, this could be the thing to break that!
Pass it on
Something else that I think is incredible is Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food. His work is dynamically impacting Britain's food habits and is now in it's beginning stages in the U.S. If you didn't happen to see his Food Revolution on TV, check it out http://www.jamieoliver.com/jamies-ministry-of-food/
Put into one sentence, his "mission" is to start a revolution where people teach each other to cook by passing on a new recipe which they have learned, to two other people. These two now pass it on to two more people each, and these again pass it on - by now 7 people have learned a new cooking skill. These 7 do the same, and soon people every where are in their kitchens, cooking, rather than eating out or heating frozen food. I think this could be a great idea for a group of friends to do together. See the above link for detailed instructions, with an outline of how to create such a group. But for most of us who don't have time for a venture of this magnitute, it could be as simple as passing on a favourite family recipe to a few friends, and asking them to pass it on to others.
Anything that gets people excited about cooking and learning about new foods, gets me excited too! Why should we eat the same 5 meals every week? Why shouldn't our kids grow up knowing what a zucchini or what basil is? Let's get back to cooking and enjoy it, too.