What’s A Cook-In? Cooking Class? Community Meal? Food to Go? Friendly Gathering?

Onions ad flavor to most soups. Don demonstrates how to cut one safely.

Onions add robust flavor to most soups. Don demonstrates how to cut one safely….and without tears

Yep! All of the above. We hosted our first Cook-In and people were smiling as they stacked containers of prepared food to take home. But first, let’s share how the evening started. Don purchased food, set up cooking stations, and demonstrated how to prepare ingredients at each area. Everyone pitched in and 30 minutes later we were finished packaging ingredients for soup-based meals. Then we gathered to eat and plan.

A Mini-Cook-In

Salad and dressings were boxed to take home.

Salad and dressings were boxed to take home.

This was what could be called a “mini-Cook-In,” since there was little cooking involved. We prepared a simple soup, spice mix, salad and baked bread sticks. Then, after boxing some to take home for several meals, we gathered around the table and ate the left-overs together. While enjoying the meal and getting to know each other, we brainstormed  ideas for the next Cook-In. To be  honest, our main focus was to introduce the idea and lay out a plan for the next 9 months. Both objectives were enthusiastically achieved.

The menu

Apples were washed, cored and stufffed with a granola mixture to be cooked later.

Apples were washed, cored and stufffed with a granola mixture to be cooked later.

To save time, many of the ingredients were purchased at Cash and Carry, a restaurant supplier. Herbs and soup bases were purchased from our local Community Food COOP. Future Cook-Ins can take advantage of local produce; gleaned or purchased.

  • For the soup base, we demonstrated how to use Better Than Bullion® which is lower in salt than most bullion mixes.
  • Chopped Broccoli, onions, garlic and shredded carrots were packaged to take home. They can simmer in the soup base,
  • Looking forward to the next Cook-In. , roast turkey and old fashioned fixin's.

    Looking forward to the next Cook-In. , roast turkey and old fashioned fixin’s.

    Everyone assembled a mixture of chives, basil, granulated garlic & onion, Rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. This is our recipe called “herb bouquet” and is a simple substitute for Herbemare®

  • For dressing, a gallon of Balsamic vinaigrette was repackaged to use and take home.
  • Whole wheat French rolls provided the grain
  • Beans and rice were available for the protein if the participants did not have a meat protein at home to add to the soup.

Looking To The Future

Here are some or their suggestions for future Cook-Ins:

  • "This is a good idea. I'm glad we were invited"

    “This is a good idea. I’m glad we were invited”

    Make it a family event with separate supervised activity for children.

  • Select recipes that use seasonal produce or grocer’s sales.
  • Cook some food in advance so Cook-Ins last less than 90 minutes
  • Invite culinary students to help prep and clean-up.
  • Encourage patrons to bring friends and neighbors to form a local support group.

The schedule

 October 14  roasted turkey etc

November 11  fruit and meat pies

December  8  Roasted meat and vegetables; for meals and hors d’oeuvres

Future Cook-Ins will be held on the second Tuesday of each month in the kitchen of the United church of Ferndale. The time and menu to be announced later.