Start a Cooking Club: Save Money, Eat Better

Reader Contribution by Aur Beck and Advanced Energy Solutions Group
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Homemade granola. Photo by Aur Beck  

Some people hate to cook, some people love to cook, but most people don’t have time to cook a good full meal every day. A friend of mine and I started a cooking club. One day each week we cook extra and bring it to others in the club.

Start small; one day each week we cooked double and provided to the other. Soon a third friend joined in, and I learned that it doesn’t take any more effort to cook for three families than to cook for one.

It is great to know that at least three nights a week, we will have a home cooked meal, and two nights a week I don’t have to do anything but heat it up. And we get to try new foods. I started a regular slow food dinner where everyone would bring something and put on the kitchen table to come up with a meal. 

We tried really hard to not make a stir fry or stew/soup. We did find a website and then an app where you can enter all ingredients and it would provide a list of recipes. Like a recipe roulette!

I joined a freezer group where we could trade in as many groups as we wanted. Each group included five or six people who each cooked enough for trading with everyone else in the group. A trade had to be five or six servings which is a gallon freezer bag full.

I was in the gluten-free group or there was a vegetarian group. Basically, when I felt like cooking a bunch of 5 or 6 gallons of something I would label with date and what it was, fill the 6) gallon bags, and freeze them. We would meet once a month to do trade and I would take home five or six different foods. I usually participated in two or three groups each month and ended up with 10 to 15 different meals. 

For four years I hosted a weekly International slow food cooking together cooking club we called Rice and Spice learning how to feed an average of 43 people for less than $100 every week and how easy it is for most of the world to make lots of food for a great price. Out of that we were able to create a cookbook to be a fundraiser to pay for the dinner. The cookbook is still available on Amazon here.

Compact kitchen. Photo by Aur Beck

Now I host the weekly Leave It to Chef international slow food cooking together online cooking class. For current class and ingredients list https://www.facebook.com/leaveittochef/events 

Every week we have a different “chef” who shares something that they think is simple or easy to make. For example, we had a regular from Brazil last night teach us how to make brigadeiros (which are Brazilian chocolate truffles) which only had 4 ingredients and were very easy to make. Learning food from different cultures that they think are simple or easy to make makes it so I learn many new ways to make simple and usually cheap very good food. 


Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years and he works as Chief Tech for AES Solar. He can be reached at tech@AESsolar.com . He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter atThe Climate Reality Project, a fellow addict atOil Addicts Anonymous International  and a talk show co-host atWDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on theLiving Off Grid, Really!?!?Facebook page, and read all of Aur’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS postshere.


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