A New York January isn’t the best time to start a cooking experiment whose ground rules include sourcing local ingredients. But after months of fantasizing about relief from dinner leftovers and overpriced takeout for lunch, eight Slow Food staffers risked their taste buds and reached their kale-and-winter squash recipe limit to begin a lunch cooperative. Inspired to action by a Civil Eats article chronicling another lunch co-op adventure (written by our very own Jerusha Klemperer– Slow Food’s Associate Director of Campaigns and Projects) we met and discussed the structure. On an eight –day rotation, a different person would cook for all other co-op members once every eight days. With multiple palates, tastes, and dislikes, we needed to set out some ground rules: 1.) As many whole, local and organic ingredients as possible. 2.) Each per person cost had to be less than $5. The whole meal could not cost more than $40 3.) Vegeterian meals only or at least one vegetarian serving for our meat-free member. 4.) Limit spicy dishes and anything with tuna or eggplant. 5.) Be bold and creative.
We also needed to make sure that the ball never got dropped. Using a Google doc calendar (see picture) to schedule the rotation has allowed us to edit whenever we want. It’s also color coded—meaning every eight-day cycle is a different color– immediately making clear which days in each cycle still need to be taken. The day’s chef sends an email with the menu so she can get feedback and also so everyone else gets excited!