Collective kitchens make food affordable Community members socialize and prepare food together

Our community loves to cook together.

The newly renovated kitchen at Alberta Avenue Community Centre is already host to the  Mennonite Centre’s Global Cooking program on Tuesdays, where new immigrants cook dishes from different cultures together, then sit down, socialize, and share a meal. Others in the neighbourhood are also taking advantage of the new kitchen.

“In the last month, we’ve had three different groups of neighbours come cook together: one group made perogies, another cookies, and the third group did an emergency cooking bee for a local family that had a tragedy,” said facility and program manager Karen Mykietka.

She added, “We are working on getting a regular collective kitchen going as well as cooking workshops and opportunities for neighbours to cook and eat together. If anyone is interested in leading or participating, let us know!”  

In November, Alberta Avenue held its first collective kitchen featuring tasty, warming stews and bannock.

Alberta Health Services began to organize once-a-month collective kitchens in 1990 as a way for people to cook together and bring home nutritious meals at an affordable price ($3-5 per person).

Two collective kitchens are also operating at St. Faith’s/St. Stephen Anglican Church. Collective kitchens typically take place in community halls, churches, and schools.

Another collective kitchen began last September at Parkdale Cromdale Community League.

On a Sunday afternoon in October, 10 people, all with a mission to cook, crowded into the Parkdale Cromdale collective kitchen. Organizer Luisa Rizzi instructed the would-be chefs on the rudiments of the afternoon’s cooking activities. Within seconds, piles of brightly coloured ingredients were assigned to create a soup, roasted root vegetables, and two meat dishes.

Parkdale Cromdale Community League Community kitchen organizer Luisa Rizzi inspects a colourful pan of roasted root vegetables. | Constance Brissenden

For some participants, such as Enessa Habib, it was a new experience. “I’ve moved to Edmonton from Toronto. That city wasn’t affordable anymore. I heard about the collective kitchen through Facebook. It’s fun to meet new people and get to know the area,” she said.

Matthew Surbey, a professional plumber, is another newcomer. “I read about today’s collective kitchen in the Rat Creek Press. I signed up online, and here I am,” said Surbey. As a single dad with twin sons aged eight, the meals are helpful. “One of my sons likes to cook. The other likes to eat,” said Surbey with a smile.

Other cooks, like Kathryn Plante, have been attending collective kitchens for years. A wife and mom with two children under seven years of age, Plante admits she’s a fairly good cook who has “run out of ideas.” She enjoys cooking new recipes with the others. Even more so, she revels in the social aspect of the monthly afternoon out of the house. “Other than my husband, these are the only adults I see every month, so this is a social event for me.”

Cooking, eating, socializing… what more could you want from our neighbourhood kitchen programs?

Spaces are available in our area’s once-a-month collective kitchens.


LOCAL COLLECTIVE KITCHENS

Alberta Avenue

780.477.2773

info@albertaave.org

Parkdale Cromdale

Sign up online at parkdalecromdale.org/collective-kitchen/

St. Faith’s/St. Stephen Anglican

Email p.downing@telus.net or amanda_sokal@yahoo.ca.


Featured Image: Enessa Habib (left) and Matthew Surbey (right), both newcomers, cooked at the Parkdale Cromdale Community League collective kitchen in October. | Constance Brissenden

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