The easiest, best thing I’ve invented is the Sunday swap.
A few autumns ago, a friend and I got unexpectedly animatedly talking about how annoying it is to cook when you live alone. You either make a huge vat of chili and get very tired of it with pounds still left to go. Or you try to scale it down to just a single portion, but it’s a ton of labor for just one serving, plus it’s hard to buy ingredients in small quantities.
I had the exact same conversation a day later with another friend and had a lightbulb moment. I invited them both over on the following Sunday night with instructions to bring a homemade dish and all the Tupperware they owned. The very first Sunday swap.
In the days leading up to a Sunday swap, anticipation mounts as everyone texts about the recipes they’re considering making. Even when we think the menu is locked, someone always shows up with a surprise: a loaf of sourdough, extra cookies, a preponderance of freshly-picked apples.
Some of our menus:
- Farro with roasted sweet potato, kale, and pomegranate; mushroom bourguignon; veggie soup; apple pie
- Roasted cauliflower salad with honey mustard vinaigrette, chana masala, Chinese tomato and eggs with rice
- Pumpkin curry, brussels sprouts, cheddar broccoli rice casserole, mint citrus salad
- West African peanut stew, roast squash, rice and lentils, chocolate sourdough
We’d feast and catch up, and then make sure everyone had plenty of each dish to take home.
A few recommendations:
- You’ll be running a little late, then pull your food from the oven and realize it’s way too hot to transport. Now you have to wait for it to cool and you’re extra late! This scenario happened to every single one of us every single time, so just anticipate late starts.
- Our crew of 3 friends felt intimate yet festive. I’d recommend 3-5 attendees.
- While you’re together, go ahead and plan the date for the next Sunday swap, so you don’t have to text about logistics forever. We liked meeting once a month.
The days after a Sunday swap are awesome because you get to feast on your friends’ food and receive texts like “OMG how did this curry get even better!” or “My coworkers are beyond jealous.”
It was a revelation how easy this made it for us to stay in touch and take care of each other. During the pandemic, I’ve so missed this ritual. If you decide to give this a try, let me know how it goes!
With love to V & J.