I love food. And if it’s tasty, all the better! Especially when I cook my own food or know who’s cooking my food – it somehow tastes better.

Other than a couple of pasta and Mexican dishes, I don’t know how to cook much from scratch. Give me some recipes and some prepped ingredients, and I can do ok. But learning how to cook something new has always been challenging to do by myself – I always do better when it’s taught by someone in person. That’s when the really interesting things happen – when you stop worrying about the exact measurements of things and start cooking based on what you feel or taste is right.

A few weeks ago, I started going to this cooking class/communal dinner event in Vancouver called Consuming Conversations. It’s put on by some people at the Gordon Neighbourhood House, which is a kind of community centre that offers cool programs like this. It’s a chance to learn how to cook a new dish, and after you’ve helped prep the dish you eat alongside the people you’ve cooked with. After going for a few weeks, I’ve learned to cook quite a few things – calzones, pesto linguini with poached eggs, sushi, and miso soup.

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Each time, the lead chef preps some of the ingredients, but it’s up to most of us to finish the process and put everything together. While we cook, we get to meet new people and just talk. It’s been a great way to step out of my social norm and meet some new people, while building something together that we’ll all enjoy. And it’s free – which is really important to get people willing to learn and help out, no matter where you come from. It’s all about opening up to the community around us, and showing how nice it can be when people get together to build something wonderful like tasty food. I’m hoping to learn tons of dishes by the end of the year, so I can be less cautious in the kitchen and more confident about experimenting with food!

– Matt

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