In modern times, food swaps are all the rage, as they are a great way to keep to a budget, and help your community to feed people and avoid food waste. Food swaps simply involve batch-cooking, then swapping meals. This 30-Minute Easy Lentil Bolognese (The First Mess) is a good batch recipe.
Food swaps are usually held at someone’s house, and work really the same as a fashion swap. It’s a great way to gather some community spirit too. Would you rather make a new recipe then share it with others, or wheel your trolley down some faceless supermarket aisle?
Of course, with food swaps we’re getting into legal stuff here. But because there is no money involved, it’s usually fine. But you do of course have to be careful with allergies. If someone is allergic to nuts (or anything else), it’s not a good idea to participate, due to the risks of cross-contamination. You don’t have to make it all about big pots of stew. You could start off small, say by making small snacks.
The other alternative is to form a batch cook club. You simply get a crowd together, and then make some recipes that serve lots of people. Everything is frozen and divided into pots, then you get together and swap them for things that others have made. Say you had 7 people do this, you could in theory get a freshly cooked meal each week, and only have to make one of them yourself. To make this work, you’ll need to find some cookbooks with lots of servings. Try restaurant books.
how to arrange a food swap
Head over to Chicago Food Swap, which is one of the best-run in the world (the founder’s book is below). Their swap is held every month or two and takes around 2 hours. People bring everything: cakes and cookies, jams and jellies, homemade pickles, all labelled with instructions preparation and cooking. The first hour is spent chatting and looking, then visitors bid on items, and give something in return. It’ taken on trust for good hygiene, no money exchange is allowed. This Cheesy Vegan Broccoli with White Beans (The First Mess) is sure to go down a treat.
Some foods (like grapefruit and dark green leafy veggies) are not safe for certain medications (so check re these and allergies, before sharing). Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Keep recipes away from pets, due to toxic ingredients.
- Food Swap is a how-to guide to swap artisan items and make recipes. Emily Paster is co-founder of the world’s biggest food swap. The recipes are not all vegan but some are, and the book is mostly a manual, although it does include recipes for green tomato salsa and apricot jalapeño jelly. Learn how to package items, make gift tags and set up a food swap in your community. Includes inspiring stories.
- The Professional Vegan Cookbook is by professional chef Brian McCarthy, who has cooked at The White House. His meals are for large servings such as restaurants, so these recipes are ideal for larger batch cooking clubs. Find 450 international inspired recipes.