As the gal in charge of Cooking With Friends, I’m privy to a lot of information; in person feedback from friends, behind the scenes e-mails from Cooking With Friends fans and of course, my own personal experience. Like everything else in life, there are certain rules of etiquette that apply to the Cooking With Friends way of life. Not that this list is exhaustive, but you may want to keep some of them in mind. I would love to hear back from you (so please comment!) and help me make this list even more extensive.
Always keep things economically fair. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to split expenses 50/50 every time you cook with someone, but it does mean that you want to be aware of how much you each contribute to cooking dates. You should think about ingredients that you already have in your pantry (olive oil, spices, butter, eggs, etc.) and also foods that need to be bought that day. If your friend brought most of the ingredients for your last cooking date, then it’s time for you to contribute the bulk this time.
Alternate kitchens. Even though you may like your friend’s kitchen better than yours (it may be roomier or more up-to-date), I’ll bet your friend would like a change of scenery every once in a while. It’s always nice to get out of your own house!
Always Help with the Clean Up. Never leave a sink full of dishes, even if your friend tells you that it’s ok. (Unless of course you don’t mind a sink full the next time you cook at your house!)and there’s a huge chance that if your friend tells you it’s ok to leave without finishing the clean-up, she’s just being polite.
Be open and honest. If you feel like you’ve been carrying the bulk of the load lately (either economically or as the hostess), you should figure out an appropriate time to tell your friend. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to remind a friend who’s about to go shopping that I picked up the bulk of the lasagna ingredients a month ago as. A good cooking relationship never harbors resentment.
Decide on the cooking agenda together. Even if you’re laid back about what you make, make sure that you work together on planning the cooking agenda. You want to make sure you have enough foods that please your family and meet your needs. Sometimes it works to alternate who picks the menu of the day from one cooking date to the next.
This is just a start of my Cooking With Friends etiquette. If you’re too shy to post a comment (or just don’t want your friends to see), feel free to e-mail me privately: firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s fun being the Ann Landers of Cooking With Friends!