During Club Fair, hundreds of clubs emerge from campus to attract new members. I, like many eager first years, wrote in my information in any club that sounded remotely interesting. Curling Team? Why not? Consulting Club? Sounds like a resume booster. A Cooking Club? Sign me up. Of all the clubs that I signed up for, the Food Co-Op has been one of my most beloved groups to be a part of.

This group gave me a reason to look forward to Monday and dinner. For those of you who have never heard of it, the Food Co-Op is basically an organized cooking club, serving homemade vegetarian meals every Monday at 5:30.


Photo by Peaches Memishian

A cooking club is pretty bizarre at a school with the #1 rated campus food – why would we ever want to eat outside of the dining hall? However, getting a chance to cook is a break from the routine that many of us fall into. Especially for first years that don’t have access to a kitchen in freshmen dorms, cooking is a missed pleasure.

Even if you don’t cook, learning to cook for not just yourself, but for an entire group is an extremely rewarding experience. I recently cooked my first meal with my friends and we had a great time cooking and then critiquing ourselves. And now we’re looking forward to our next opportunity to cook, but also whoever is next week’s cook and what they’re serving.

For the curious, when you cook a meal: you get a budget to go buy groceries and then meet to cook at 4:30. Dinner is served at (roughly) 5:30 and usually feeds about 15 people. The meals have ranged from an Indian style butternut squash soup with roasted coconuts, to a homemade ramen with fresh veggies.


Photo by Meredith Marcus at Dartmouth

The food is meant to expand your vegetarian palate and having different cooks each week encourages diversity in taste and experience with cooking.

At one meeting, the Food Co-Op hosted the Students for Free Tibet as they demonstrated how to make fresh momos (a kind of dumpling) and butter tea. I love to learn by eating, and events like these offer fascinating looks into unfamiliar cultures.

Regardless of if you’re a vegetarian or even a chef, I recommend the Food Co-Op to eat well and learn about dishes and cultures across Bowdoin.