I will gladly take any opportunity to cook. Whether it’s casual Wednesday night dinners at my parent’s house or meal-prepping for friends, I will probably be putting on my apron before you’re even done asking me if I want to cook. It’s even better when cooking can be a shared experience: one chops the veggies, another sautés the garlic, and someone else sets the table. I love the theatrics of a busy kitchen.
But I must confess, as most of my close friends and family know, I am probably the worst person to cook with. I usually end up doing all of the work and have very little trust in others to follow my instructions. Most of my arguments have started in the kitchen due to a lack of power and my sous chef not meeting my expectations (sorry, Dad). But as the pandemic has placed restrictions on opportunities to cook with others in person, I have found that virtual cooking dates can supplement that experience, and are honestly just as fun and lively.
My friend Miranda and I are all for a great dining experience. At the beginning of 2020, we made plans to hit all of our favorite spots together: Lucille, Tornado Steakhouse, and Bloom Bake Shop just to name a few. While those excursions were cut short, we still found ourselves sharing recipes and cooking meals we wanted to make the next time we were together.
During the stressful election week, we decided to have a virtual cooking date over FaceTime. She lives in St. Paul and I’m currently in Madison, so we felt this was the best way to catch up while enjoying a nice meal (and staying safe!). We made Basically’s Rigatoni with Easy Vodka Sauce and it did not disappoint.
I’m typically not a fan of FaceTime; I find it awkward and honestly kind of strange, even with my close friends! I never feel like I’m truly connecting with the other person and it, in my opinion, feels as disconnected as texting.
Having an activity to do while chatting about our day made the time pass and gave us something to do together. We laughed about the copious amounts of grated parmesan on our countertops, and raved about the delicious aromas that were coming from our plates. The smells, tastes, and processes were the same for both of us, and I think that helped us feel connected while being miles apart. It also put my type-A brain at ease because I was able to work at my own pace and maintain control of my workspace.
(wow I’m really just exposing myself here aren’t I)
The next time you’re thinking about FaceTiming a friend, suggest cooking together. I truly believe there is no better way to connect with someone than over food, and when you can do it together (even when you’re apart) it’s even more special.