Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
It’s fair to say that among the things West Seattleites have in common, a love of food is probably at the top of any list. You probably have a favorite breakfast or pizza place, special dessert destination, preferred grocery store, produce stand, mobile food truck. The West Seattle/White Center area has grown into a neighborhood with an abundance of some of the best and most inviting food destinations in the city. New places continue to open up and we just can’t seem to get enough.
But for some folks, even the plethora of commercial culinary awesomeness surrounding us isn’t quite enough. These people not only like to eat, they like to cook – a lot. And they would like to find others with great recipes who might want to share with the club – and eventually help publish a charity-fundraiser cookbook – while getting inspired and meeting new people.
So the stage is set for a growing group of people who share a passion for cooking: The West Seattle Cooking Club.
Club organizers Jennifer Gibson (a home cook and former restaurant-industry worker) and Aaron Debnam (Seattle Fish Company manager) tell us the group has grown steadily week by week since late last year, to a few dozen members now rotating in to cook when their schedules allow. One of their goals, if they continue to attract enthusiastic and creative members, is to someday assemble their recipes for a cookbook to be sold with proceeds to benefit West Seattle Food Bank.
If you check out a meeting, you might see some familiar faces you never knew share your love of cooking. There’s a mix of novice and industry professionals in the club: A community center employee, a sales rep, Ed from Meander’s, the West Seattleites who own Tat’s Deli in Pioneer Square, [http://tatsdeli.com/], an artist, and lots of others gather at Beveridge Place Pub every Monday afternoon around 2:00 for themed potlucks. (The time was chosen because many of the participants have schedules for which the traditional “let’s meet in the evening or on a weekend” just doesn’t work, especially people in the restaurant industry, who often have Monday off.)
The club wants everyone to know that you are invited to join if you love to cook and want to share what you cook. The requirements? That’s it, really. If you show up to a meeting with a delish dish that serves around 10-12 that you have made yourself, and if you love to try others’ recipes, you are in. There are no membership fees — just bring your desire to share and the food.
The next meeting is Monday, July 11, 2 pm, with “Noodles” as the theme, however you interpret that. When we stopped by last week, the theme was “Barbecue,” and to facilitate the seven or eight grills required, the meeting was held at Big Al Brewing in White Center.
But generally, cooking isn’t done on site; people bring everything ready to serve with accommodations to keep things warm if needed.
Some of the themes the club has already explored are bacon, maple, garlic, dill, peppers, fungus, chocolate, legume, cheese, baked, “anything goes,” seasonal fruit, curry, Mexican Day, Asian Day, seafood, seasonal veggies, salads, and nuts. “It’s so great that all of these different people show up with all of their creativity,” said Jennifer, while Aaron says he likes knowing he will be eating really well at least once a week.
The club has a Facebook page (West Seattle Cooking Club) and an e-mailbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or want to keep updated on their activities.
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