Group Cooking – Getting Started

On February 24, 2014 by Kim

You may already have a group in mind. You may even have them excited about cooking already! Others may be starting completely from scratch. Either way, consider the following as you begin the process of planning and inviting folks to your freezer cooking group:

  • Location – Members have a convenient place where you all can meet to swap meals. Or if you are cooking together, pick a home or place with plenty of counter space.
  • Food Type – Members share interest in eating similar foods. Ask about allergies and food sensitivities. (See here for more details on menu types.)
  • Calendar – Everyone has time available to cook and to meet.
  • Budget – Ensure everyone is aware of the upfront cost of freezer cooking.

If you still need direction on who to invite, think about who you know:

  • extended family and friends
  • co-workers
  • church groups
  • clubs, teams, or a group from the gym (think diet or paleo menus!)
  • parent groups or play groups
  • school groups or study groups
  • neighborhood or dorms
  • etc, etc. The list goes on and on!

We have developed a series of worksheets to guide you through the planning process. These worksheets include an invite list, an invitation and survey for potential members, instructions for how to break up into sub-groups if your group is large, how to choose between a Full Menu and a Mini Menu, and how to choose a specific menu type. You will also see estimates on how much money and time you will spend based on those choices.

If you have a community in mind that you know fairly well already → Start with the Planning Worksheet, then hand out the Invitation and Survey for more detailed information. Choose a specific menu by using the Assessment Worksheet.

If you are just getting started building your swap community → List the names of those who may be interested in the Planning Worksheet and distribute the Invitation and Survey. Proceed to the Assessment Worksheet when they have responded, then complete the Planning Worksheet and choose a specific menu.

Downloads:

Once you have chosen a specific menu, assign recipes to each member of the group and make sure that they have access to recipe cards and labels. All that is left to do is cook, swap, and enjoy your food and community!

6 Comments

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    1. Vickie – If you are doing a group cooking day in your home, we suggest no more than 4 people. If you are doing a swap, 8 would be the most we would recommend.

  1. I am going to attempt again to introduce this idea at our church. Is there an invitation for cooking together at the church on a specific day as opposed to the invitation here that assumes everyone prepares their food ahead of time and then swaps? Thank you! 🙂

    1. There isn’t currently but you could use the same invitation and change the swap to “cook”. Such as- “we will meet monthly to cook on…”. I can definitely add the request to our list and see if we can get one together for you! Want to email me at katie at onceamonthmeals.com so I can followup? Thanks!

  2. I feel like I’m missing a basic step here. If you are planning to swap meals, but not everyone wants the same # of servings, how do you pass that info to the preppers? Do you assign a recipe, and then tell them “make three of these at 4 servings, 1 at 2 servings, and 1 x 6 servings”? Do you give them the different recipe versions for the different qtys? I feel like I’m making this too hard 🙂 help!

    1. Amanda – Group swapping can be an involved process. You could approach this one of two ways. You could customize to each persons serving size, like you described above. Yes you would need to include different recipes versions for each. When I have done group swaps, we did each meal to serve 6-8 regardless of what each person needed for serving size. Leftovers are always great, or the bigger meals are nice for when you are having company. We would love to hear how your swap goes!

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