Neighbors talk about the community kitchens at Rainier Community Center. I hear they're fun, insightful, and delicious. Preparing and enjoying food together seems like one of the best ways to connect across cultures.
There are many neighbors out there who know about this, so really I'm the wrong guy to post about it. Does anyone else have experience with this they'd like to share?
Julia Levitt recently posted about this at WorldChanging. It's a great read — here's the neighborhood bit.
I recently had the pleasure of joining the Rainier Valley Community Kitchen, which recently started here in Seattle. The neighborhood-based group meets monthly to cook a variety of freezer-friendly dishes in massive quantities, so that participants, who pay $25 apiece (if they can) to attend, each take home four- to five-person servings of each dish. This particular community kitchen is sponsored by Seattle-based co-op PCC, which allows kitchen organizers to purchase ingredients for their menus from the market at cost.
About a dozen of us met in the commercial-sized kitchen at the Rainier Valley Community Center. The menu for the month had been planned in advance: Thai coconut curry soup, vegetarian risotto, potato-cheese croquettes and vegetarian minestrone soup. Sacks of vegetables spilled onto the counters amid bulk tubs of cheese and spices and massive cans of coconut milk. We divided into teams around each recipe and set to work chopping, peeling, sautéing and boiling. Even in a big kitchen, that many people working at once creates a kind of friendly mayhem, and of course there were spills, misplaced tools, and corresponding solutions improvised at the last minute. Still, by the time two hours had passed, the finished products tasted good, the kitchen was clean, and we had more than enough for each of us to fill a shopping bag to the brim with steaming containers to carry home.