How Does a Home Cook Learn How to Cook Collaboratively?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: I love to cook for other people. Often when they offer to help, they end up with a menial task, and I feel a bit guilty. I want to cook with others in a more collaborative, equitable kitchen environment, and am curious how others handle cooking as a team (with partners, friends, etc.).

Sent by Kayla

Editor: Collaboration in the kitchen doesn’t come standard-issue, which means what works for you and your family, friends, and partner doesn’t need to follow some set template. I’ve been waiting to play this card, and I think it’s finally time: It’s all relative! Do what works for you and your friends. If you’re conducting the orchestra and others are happy to play second fiddle with a task like chopping onions or peeling garlic, that means collaboration is happening. Someone has to take the lead in some capacity. If that’s where you excel and others don’t mind, it sounds like you’re doing the collaboration thing pretty well. And besides, offering to help in the kitchen usually means helping with the prep.

If you’re still feeling a bit iffy about how the tasks divvy up, it’s time to speak up. Talk about who will do what before you even head into the kitchen, choose recipes where many of the tasks are the same, or invite someone to do something a little bit more involved and show them how to do it first. Collaboration in the kitchen can begin before you even set foot in the kitchen at all. Share the shopping responsibilities, the brainstorming about what to cook, or the dishes.

Definitely collaborate on doing the dishes.

Help Kayla out, Kitchn readers: How do you cook collaboratively in the kitchen?