Friday, May 21, 2010

Collaborative Meal Challenge

This is a great activity for community-building that I learned as an artist-in-residence at the Blue Sky Project in rural Illinois. It gets participants thinking and working together,  encouraging everyone to let their guard down, roll up their sleeves, and share family recipes, personal know-how, and creative resourcefulness in some wonderful ways.

Every time I've done this project it's been delicious, fun, and a really positive bonding experience

You will need:
* a list of any food allergies or food restrictions in the group, so that you can avoid these.
* stove, sink, and refrigerator access, depending on ingredients you decide to use.
* various fruits and vegetables
* pasta, rice, and/or flatbread
* something with protein (feta cheese, peanut butter, sausage, beans, soy protein, etc.)
* something sweet (chocolate syrup, berries, honey, etc.)
* basic kitchen tools
* dishes, cups, and flatware

Project time: approximately 3 hours (including preparation,consumption, and cleanup)

Step 1
Lay all the food out onto a common table or counter space. Try not to organize things by theme or category - just lay all the options out together.

Step 2
divide your group into three teams: the salad & appetizer team, main course team, and dessert & drinks team. These teams can be self-selecting, but participants should try to make sure each group has roughly the same number of people in it.

Step 3
At this point, participants may ask, "so what are we making?" The answer to this is "That's a great question! That part is up to you." Representatives from each team will choose ingredients they want to use from the common table and brainstorm ideas of what to make with them. (the internet may be helpful for those with less cooking experience).

Step 4
Teams will have approximately one hour to complete their dishes. Any team that finishes early can get a head start on Step 6, so there's less to do later.

Step 5
Have each team present what it came up with to the group. Then line up to serve and eat. Enjoy!

Step 6
As a group, take turns washing dishes, drying, cleaning stoves and surfaces, and putting food/cookware away.

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