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Is a Cooking Co-op Right for Your Family?

Studies have found that children in families who regularly eat together are less likely to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide.  They do better in school and are more likely to put off having sex.  As such, many families make a point to dine together as often as possible.

But if your busy schedule means those dinners often consist of frozen pizzas and takeout meals, perhaps you should consider a cooking co-op.  Designed to help busy people eat better, cooking co-ops let friends and neighbors share the labor involved in preparing delicious,  home-cooked meals.

Each member of the co-op prepares enough of one meal to provide servings for every family in the co-op.  In return, they receive the same from the other members.  The meals should be freezable and delivered in appropriate containers for storing until it’s time to thaw and eat them.  If you’ve got a large enough group, you could conceivably cook just once a week – or even once a month! – and still have great food every single night.

The downside, of course, is the food.  If one family provides meals that your family doesn’t like, then you are pretty much out of luck.  But, by carefully choosing the cooking co-op members and making any food allergies known ahead of time, this idea could save you a lot of time and even money that might otherwise be spent dining out.

I am intrigued by this idea.  Not only would this allow my family to eat something other than the five of six things I tend to make over and over, it would give me a good reason to expand my repertoire.  Not to mention getting to eat the food of some of the fabulous cooks I know. Have you ever been a member of a cooking co-op?  Tell us all about it!

Image: liz elkind/Flickr

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