Frugal is the New Cool -Forming a Cooking Coop

Hey KS  Fans,

Lately my husband has been noticing my grocery bills and has commented once or twice about their seemingly higher amount than usual. Now I have a very Frugal Cost Cutting husband who grew up with Holocaust survivor parents -nothing was ever thrown out and if a penny was earned two pennies were saved!

Normally my husband’s frugality is something that I admire and appreciate, it’s a good balance in our family, but sometimes I believe there are situations where convenience and quality of life have precedence over saving a nickel. It is a fun family dispute that has it moments LOL! (one day I will tell my paper towel story…)

Truthfully, when I go grocery shopping I never really look at the cost of a product, I look at the quality of the product, and sometimes quality = expensive. There are many times that I have gone to the grocery line with my cut out newspaper coupons (especially after seeing the extreme couponing show) and have been known to buy generic vs. name brand for products where there was no real difference.

Groceries and household items have been the main target I find Today on these sites like Groupon, Jdeal, Jewpon, kosheronabudget, shopaholics – which are popping up left and right offering us -the consumers (some specific to the Jewish Market)  more and more ways to save money.

After having this conversation with my husband, I happen to by chance come across this article, about THE COOKING COOP – and how it is one of the top 9 ways a household can save money. The concepts being; you have just ONE night a week where you cook for your family and other families their dinner meal. And in return the other nights of the week you are getting food from the other members in your group who are doing the same. Leaving you hassle free, saving you cost on food in general and still getting a well-balanced delicious meal every night of the week. – A great concept in theory!

I found it fascinating and wonder if it could work in a Kosher home? Could we really save money if we pooled our Daily Dinner Cooking ? Factors like Shabbat and the higher cost of kosher food in general probably will affect the outcome of saved money. But in general does the average working Kosher MOM who is trying to feed her family and save a dollar even interested in such a concept?

These are all questions that I wonder as I read this idea – still thinking  – it really could work …

For me I am not sure – it’s just my husband, my daughter and myself (with the occasional stray friend here and there) that I cook for. So my bills are really not that high and to cook is not that difficult or demanding. A family that has 4 or more kids, as is typical in the Jewish world, it is a much different story. So if I pooled, I think I would be spending more than I normally would – having to provide for larger familes than my own. – I think,the key to making this work, is finding other families that are about the same size as yours and making it a fair trade from the get go.

There is also the factor of – not everyone has the cooking gene – so will my family even enjoy and appreciate other people’s food?But that is probably a problem that can be solved if you are selective of your groups members and know in advance what they are capable of and accepting it.

I love to cook most night, but there are many times where I am just too tired or really lazy and wish I had my own personal chef at my beck and call. As a working mom from home – it is a little indulgent to have my meals cooked for me by others – but if I worked out-side of my home and all other factors lined up- I certainly would give this a whirl.

With the economy as it is now days -Frugal is really the new cool – and this is a great idea for those of you who want to save a little.

Happy Cooking!



Just thought this was a great idea to share with you guys on kosherstreet  -and I would love to hear if there are any of you out there who actually do this – I would love to get you blogging about it here on kosherstreet!  Sarah@kosherstreet.com




Form a cooking co-op: A great Way to Save Mone y?
Sure, cooking is cheaper than eating out, but a daily home-cooked meal simply isn’t an option for many full-time working parents. Ginny Bowie, vice president of a Richmond, Va.-based financial securities firm and mother of three, solved her scheduling and budgeting dilemma in one swoop by forming a cooking co-op.

“Every Tuesday night, I cook dinner for three families besides my own, which is about 18 to 20 people, and deliver it to their door,” Bowie says. “Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the three other families cook for me.”

“If it’s Tuesday … it’s my night 2 cook,” contain recipes and tips for starting a co-op. She says cooking in bulk has cut her grocery bill in half and practically eliminated her need for eating out.

What it’s worth
The average household spent $6,133 per year on food — $3,465 on groceries and $2,668 on meals away from the home — in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We suspect food prices soared in 2008, but let’s use these numbers anyway. Assuming that a co-op could reduce the grocery bill by half and lower restaurant expenses by, say, 60 percent (factoring in the occasional meal out), families could save $3,333 per year by going co-op.

Here’s the payoff for switching meal plans:

• A one-time deposit of $3,333 grows to $9,196 in 15 years.
• Annual deposits of $3,333 add up to $83,755.

bring back the family meal

Start a cooperative adventure with parents, children, friends and neighbors sharing the work in creating weekly dinners. Sitting down four nights a week is a simple solution to many of our family problems, both large and small.

why co-op cook?


Eating dinner with our children is very important – time to catch up together, eat a home-cooked meal and celebrate the day. Memories are made for the whole family. But there are lots of other good reasons to co-op cook:

Co-op meals save 50% to 70% over the cost of fast food – you eat out less, use less convenience foods and save money

  • you get better nutrition at less cost by buying in quantity
  • try new foods and recipes for more variety in your meals – more fruits and vegetables and types of foods
  • it will save you time, money and stress of having to come up with dinner every night
  • you have more time to cook creatively

To read more tips about how to form your own cooking coop got to www.mynight2cook.com

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About the Author

For the last 8 years Sarah Lasry has been the heart and soul of the successful and celebrated Tastebuds Gourmet Café & Flower Shop in Howell, NJ. Sarah opened and ran Tastebuds to much critical appraise for her unique approach to delicious, kosher gourmet cooking as well as her legendary parties, original style and artistic culinary flair. In 2006 Sarah wrote the acclaimed bestselling cookbook “THE DAIRY GOURMET” which revealed all the secret recipes of Tastebuds Café. With much anticipation from her many fans and fellow foodies, Sarah’s brand new cookbook “THE AT HOME GOURMET” just hit the stores with high praise and reviews. Sarah currently resides in Lakewood, NJ where she has recently left the restaurant business to concentrate on her passion for writing cookbooks and is hard at work as the Food and Home contributing editor for Binah Magazine and www. Kosherstreet.com.

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