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20 October 2020

How to Cook Virtually

Cooking Virtually

Without a doubt, the novel coronavirus has altered the way we do almost everything in our daily lives. Work and school, socializing and sports, eating, drinking, errands… everything works a little differently these days. But humans are amazing creatures, and we have and will continue to find ways to overcome the challenges and changes that COVID-19 has presented. 

By now we’re all familiar with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, and all the other wonderful video conferencing programs that have enabled us to interact with loved ones, meet with friends, get our children “back” to school, and maybe even share a cocktail or two through the power of the internet (and oh yeah, we can’t forget about that little thing called “work”).

Today we’d like to introduce a new (and tasty!) way to Zoom: call it a cook-off, team bake, or round-robin – but no matter what you name you give it, it promises to be fun and delicious.

The Zoom Cook-Off

The benefits of cooking together on Zoom or any video platform go well beyond the obvious. Sure, it’s a wonderful opportunity to socialize and fill some time while stuck in the house, but it’s an even better way to taste and try new foods and learn new recipes. A few weeks of cooking together online and you’ll be filling your recipe book with new and different dishes that’ll go a long way in livening up your regular repertoire (and maybe even slot in a new family go-to’s, to boot). Think of it as a much tastier version of your biweekly book club – just without the homework!

How It Works

  • Each week (or twice a week; however you want to schedule it), one person in your group is nominated head chef, baker, cook, or culinary artist (if you want to get fancy). Tip: It’s a good idea to work a schedule out well in advance so the nominee has plenty of time to prepare. It’s also important to note how long the recipe takes to make so people can schedule accordingly.
  • A few days before the meeting, the “chef of the week” sends around – probably via email – his/her recipe so everyone participating has plenty of time to shop for the required ingredients and reply with any questions that may arise.
  • Before the meeting, each participant should set up his/her cooking station, laying out the recipe of the week, tools, equipment, and ingredients required for the dish. Tip: Leave plenty of space at your cooking station for your laptop, tablet, or phone. Give it enough of a “safety zone” so that splashes, drips, flours, and frostings don’t glaze your device.
  • Once the call begins, it’s treated much like your favorite cooking show. After the neighborhood gossip and latest news on the children’s exploits (it’s bound to happen), the chef takes the lead, walking participants through their recipe. Step by step, the group works together, asking questions along the way, if necessary.
  • If time allows (this is also a great time for chatting and sharing a drink if that’s your thing), the group waits for the recipe to cook or bake, taste-testing, and sharing comments and ideas once it’s finished, e.g. “This would be great with white chocolate or wine…” Tip: If the group doesn’t have time to wait out the baking process, creating a shared GoogleDoc or online cookbook where everyone can leave their recipes, comments, and suggestions is a good alternative.

That’s it! Simple, really. Often, the biggest obstacle to cooking together on Zoom is finding a time that works for everyone. Again, this is where scheduling well enough ahead of time really helps. 

Now, Let’s Get You Started

Though we’re sure you’ve already got plenty of recipes in mind that you’d like to share (and perhaps a few of your friends’ recipes that you’d really like to get your hands on), we’ve provided the Pastene family frittata recipe HERE to help get you started. It’s a simple recipe that can be adapted any which way to account for personal taste (and picky eaters). You can find most of the ingredients at your local grocery store, but if not, you can order them quickly and easily right here!

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