It’s been a very busy last few weeks and the next few are going to be even more busy. So what has been on my mind? Community. Specifically how to build your food community. Or maybe better stated: building a community using food. However you want to define it, I have a few fun ways to get you started building your own. Read on for more Ideas for Building a Food Community.
1. Family Dinner. The best way to start building a food community is by having family dinners at home. These do not have to be involved, or intricate, but provide a great time to share your day, discuss your future plans and give your kids a safe space to share their successes and failures. It definitely gets harder as your kids get older and involved in more activities and time becomes more tight, but try to make it a priority to gather around the table. Your entire family will benefit. Try serving Roasted Chicken with Romesco, Instant Pot Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Crema, or serve breakfast dinner with this Southwestern Frittata.
2. Friends Dinner. Find a friend or a couple of friends, or even people that aren’t yet friends, but whom you enjoy or would like to get to know better. Invite them to dinner. This can be daunting (I hear over and over how many people think it’s harder making friends as an adult than it was as kids), but so, so worth it. One of my newer colleagues (who I didn’t know well at the time), told me he and his family were moving to the town I lived in. I invited them over for dinner, and after having a great time, we have made it a priority to have dinner together monthly. Some months we do elaborate spreads, some months we order pizza. They have become dear friends and trusted confidantes and all because of one dinner invitation. Try serving Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Jalapeno Chimichurri, BBQ Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, or Beer Braised Brisket.
3. Book Club. Since I work a full time job with odd hours, I do not always have time to be involved at school. This can be a disadvantage when getting to know other parents. When I realized I didn’t want to miss out on these relationships, I talked to two of the other moms and we decided to start a bookclub. We asked around and found a whole bunch of other moms who loved books, loved the idea of a night to discuss things with other adults, and also were very interested in building a community. I hosted the first one which involved appetizers and wine. We chose 6 books, 6 dates, 6 hosts. We meet every other month, and have the year planned ahead of time for those who wanted to read ahead. Didn’t finish the book? We don’t care-come anyway, just be ready for spoilers. We’ve now been going 2 years strong. I based this bookclub on a bookclub that I started with some neighbors which has now been together for TEN years. Talk about building a community! Try serving Honey Harissa Chicken Wings, Thai Meatballs, Zucchini Hummus Dip, or Pesto Caprese Dip.
4. Local Events. When I first started food blogging a few years ago, I joined a Facebook group with other bloggers and entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities. Through this group, I have met several other food bloggers and we have started a group complete with quarterly dinners. For this group we meet at a restaurant, but over dinner and drinks we are able to find help, support, ideas, and camaraderie. I have also been able to attend other fun events I learned about through these groups, like the Pairs Well With Wine Pairing event at Fig and Farro. Are you a food blogger in Minnesota looking to join in the fun? Email me and I will get you added!
5. Supper Club. This group makes my home chef heart the happiest. Our supper club was started on a whim by two of my work colleagues almost three years ago now. Our two friends paired up and served six others of us an 8 course dinner complete with wine pairings. We had a blast and decided to continue holding these dinners. Once a quarter one of the pairs serves dinner and wine to the rest of the group. We’ve added two additional colleagues so we now have a total of ten of us that get together for dinner around the table. After every pair has done their dinner, we go to a local restaurant, this way, we have a different season to plan around each year and everyone gets a little break. This group has done wonders with building our food community, as we have learned different styles, different techniques, and different tastes through the ten ladies that make up this group. Read more here and here for the dinner’s Holly and I have done complete with the full menus. Some recipes we’ve served when it was our turn to cook the dinner: Chicken and Waffles, Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Shrimp, Pomegranate Lime Sorbet, and Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad.
(and since 5 is never enough…)
6. Lunch Club. We’ve gotten a small group of neighborhood gals together to do a monthly lunch at a restaurant in the Twin Cities that we haven’t previously tried. It’s been great fun to get to know the gals better as well as checking out some new great places! We’ve gone to Sweet Chow, Book Club, The Naughty Greek, World Street Kitchen, Centro at Popol Vuh, and Sen Yai Sen Lek. I’m probably forgetting a few, but slowly, we’re making the rounds! Grab a few of your friends and check out a new restaurant in your city!
So without further ado, grab your friends, or ask someone new, and start building your own food community!