Earn Cash From Christmas Cooking

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ILLUSTRATION: OKOLAA/FOTOLIA
With just a little initiative, your amazing Christmas cooking could earn you cash.

Now that the yuletide is drawin’ nigh, some mighty
mouthwatering smells will be waftin’ from kitchens all over
the land. Strangely enough, however, most of the good cooks
responsible for those aromas are missin’ out on a chance to
earn cash  from their home-grown cooking talent. (And extra cash can come in pretty
handy to fill empty spaces under the Christmas tree or to
stuff a few stockings with special gifts.)

It seems almost every chef has several specific dishes at
which he or she excels. And no matter what your
Christmas cooking specialty might be–fine fruitcakes, bread, tasty
casseroles, a pungent pear relish, or some ethnic dish from
out of your family’s past–I’d be willing to bet that
someone else would pay good money to taste your culinary
wares or learn your secrets.

Share and Succeed

One of the best ways to market your kitchen skills is to
teach a cooking class or two. You can often get such jobs
through your local adult education center (where you’d
probably have use of a school’s home economics facilities), or you could simply turn your own kitchen
into a classroom. Then too, women’s clubs and church groups
are often glad of a chance to provide their members with a
demonstration of how to prepare some delicious holiday
dishes and treats.

If you decide to teach, spread the news by word-of-mouth
(for example, a club “show” could be a good time to sign up
class members for an expanded, out-of-your-home course).
Advertise in the local classifieds as well, and put up
notices on public bulletin boards. You can charge about
$3.00 or $4.00 per person per class (with perhaps $1.00
extra per session to cover food expenses),
or better yet, simply set a flat rate of $25 to
$30 for a five- or six-lesson course.

Now … pull out all those lip-smacking recipes that
you’ve tested and loved over the years. Do you have an
impressive number of ’em? If so, why not put together your
own cookbook? Duplicating services aren’t all that
expensive if you shop around, and your
students–who, after all, have had a chance to
taste the scrumptious dishes–are likely to
snap up such a publication for a price that’ll bring you a
tidy profit. In addition, try to display your cookbook at
local bookstores, and/or advertise and sell it through the
mail. If your recipes have a wide appeal or a specific
theme, you might even send them off to a publisher who
specializes in kitchen anthologies.

Go Public!

Another way to earn some kitchen-created cash is to market
your specialties at public events. People get a little
tired of hot dogs, soft drinks, and manufactured sweets,
so homemade cookies, cakes, pies, quiches, salads,
preserves, etc. can be “hot” items at these affairs. (To
determine your selling price, a general rule of thumb is to
double your ingredient costs and add a little extra to
absorb the usual booth fee.)

On the other hand, if you don’t like dealing directly with
the public, you might offer some of your special dishes to
a local caterer. Or–if you have the time–even
do some catering yourself. Many folks in your
community would probably welcome a healthful, wholesome
“banquet” brought to their homes or clubs from time to
time. And along that same line, some of the health food
stores and restaurants in the area might jump at the chance
to have fine breads and other homebaked goodies delivered
regularly to their doors.

The point is, it could be a mistake to keep your
culinary talents hidden at home, when the holidays are a
perfect time to make kitchen skills pay!