Supper Wagon (A How-To Guide)

 

What: 

A meal/food sharing practice among a group of people and/or houses who are committing to sharing grocery buying/cooking responsibilities. 

Why:

Buying and cooking in bulk saves money. Cooking one meal a week or a month for a large group of people saves more time than cooking 5-7 meals a week for yourself or your home. Supper wagon grows community and healthy interdependence, is economical, and can lower stress by freeing up more time while providing healthy options. 

HOW: 

Depending on the size of the group, creating a weekly, biweekly, or monthly rotation where a person or group of people are responsible for buying, cooking, and delivering a meal to the rest of the group (and/or opening their home to the group to come and eat there). 

The Steps:

  1. Invite people to join you. 
  2. Have those in your new group text you a list of food preferences or allergies (ex: gluten, vegetarian, all organic, etc.)
  3. Send the collected list of preferences and allergies to the whole group and ask them to begin gathering personal recipes of theirs that fall in line with these limitations as best as possible (5-10 per person).
  4. Gather your group together with all of the potential recipes and go through them one by one to see if there are any that someone in the group would absolutely not eat. Cull the ones that aren’t approved by all participants, and/or if the disapproval is only minor, discuss how they may could be tweaked. 
  5. While your group is gathered, decide on the rotation schedule. Have participants pick a night of the week that is typically most free for them. 
  6. Decide on a process of sharing. Will you have a meeting point each morning or evening (like at YH morning prayer)? Or will the responsible party deliver each evening to all the homes? Or will you open your homes for the group to eat with you and/or pick up their ownportion to go? Will you have an “off day” or "off weekends"?
  7. Before leaving, decide on a time that you will come back together to re-evaluate and/or add/subtract recipes (suggested: 3months later).  This is important and keeps food from being wasted. 
  8. Have each person purchase or locate enough tupperware to equal the number of people in the group (if there are 7 participants, each participant needs to have 7 tupperware containers). These containers will be on a constant rotation between houses. 
  9. Pick a date to get started!

Things to consider:

  • If one person in the group has an allergy or a preference not shared by the majority, you can frequently cook things separately or on the side. 
  • Community gardens (or buying things in season) can help cut the cost of cooking vegetables in bulk. 
  • If you cannot retrieve your meal immediately and/or you have plans one night, you can always freeze what has been cooked for you for lunches and/or off days, or you can let your group know that your portion will not need to be cooked that day/week (if you are unable to have it picked up and put into a freezer). 
  • Be honest and communicate often so that you don’t end up throwing food away and spending more money than is necessary. 

Some meal ideas:

  • Red beans & rice, salad & rolls
  • Tacos (beef, fish, or veggie), guacamole & blue corn chips
  • Gluten free spaghetti, green beans, garlic bread
  • Tomato basil soup & grilled cheese
  • Mexican Quinoa & blue corn chips
  • Pad thai, miso, & edamame
  • Chili
  • Homemade pizza (zucchini crust)
  • Grilled fish, asparagus, & sweet potato fries
  • Baked potatoes with the fixins
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Jambalaya or Gumbo, potato salad, & fruit
  • Quinoa pizza bites with marinara dipping sauce & fruit salad 
  • Vegetable soup 
  • Bunless grilled turkey or veggie burgers w/ avocados & homemade baked fries
  • Kale & bean stew, crackers & hummus 
  • Balsamic chicken, broccoli, and rice
  • Grilled kabobs, chili & lime corn
  • Lasagna (vegetarian or meat)