. Cooking Partners
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have hot, homemade dinners delivered to your door two or three nights a week? Think about it – homemade dinners delivered to your door, when you are not sick, not recovering from the birth of a child, and did not have a death in the family.
That’s what will happen when you arrange neighborhood ‘cooking partners.’ Here’s what to do:
Connect with 1-3 neighbors who have similar family sizes, and see if they’d like to share meal cooking with you on a weekly basis. On your designated cooking day, you cook duplicate meals – one for your family, and one for each of your cooking partners. For example, I have Arleen and Christie as my cooking partners. I cook three of the same meals every Monday. I deliver them in disposable pans to my two neighbor’s homes by 3:00 PM (so dinner is done before the kids start coming home from school. A GREAT idea.)
Arleen does the same thing on Tuesday, and Christie does the same thing on Wednesday.
You simply find 1-3 neighbors (cooking partners) and work out your assigned day of the week. For our partners, we swap dinners on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday is date night, and Saturday is usually leftover night.
We met together for one-hour and planned out our first month. We agreed it would just be a trial run. No strings attached. No commitments after four weeks (in case, for any reason, it just doesn’t work out for any one family). No hurt feelings.
We decided to rotate chicken/beef/chicken on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday each week, since those are some ‘main’ meat groups. We alternate every week, so I one Monday I cook a beef meal, and the next Monday I cook a chicken meal. Sure, if you toss in pork or salmon, that’s great. We set a four-week schedule of who’s cooking what so we don’t get lasagna two nights in a row, nor do we get chicken 2-3 nights in a row.
We all cook for five. Some families have five, some have four, but we all cook for five.
We decided to just do main dishes only. No veggies, salad, bread or dessert. You decide in your cooking partners group how you want to handle that.
I’m saving money by NOT shopping for multiple meals each week. I only cook 2-3 times a week now (my cooking day, plus one other day of the week, and Sunday dinner.)
On Tuesday and Wednesday I smile more. I have more time. I look forward to dinner!
When holidays and vacation days come around, we work those out on a week by week basis.
Two cooking partners (you and one other) is a great start. Three is what I have right now (me, Arleen and Christie). I think four partners would end up being “too many leftovers.” You decide what works best for your family and your cooking group.
When I prepare a recipe that serves eight, I simply double it, because that makes 16 servings, and I can divide that by 3 families (16 divided by 3 = 5 plus a little extra.) Friday night is date night, so I don’t cook then. Saturday is clean-out-the-fridge day. Sunday I cook for just my family.
Leave your egos at the door. If your family adores your homemade macaroni and cheese recipe, but your cooking partners’ families do not, shrug it off and move on. Don’t make it again for the partners. No hurt feelings. People tastes differ, and you can’t please all the people all the time. On the flip side, recipes have come into my home that I would have never made, and they have been devoured. Life is an adventure.
Make it a resolution in January to try cooking partners – even just on a trial basis.
You’ll be glad you did.”
Thank you, Lisa
Find more helpful ideas in my House of Order Handbook.