Recipes from Home | A Recipe Co-cooking Project

Recipes From Home

By Richa Gandhi | Service Designer

I fondly remember days before the festival of Diwali when my mother, aunts and grandma used to get together one afternoon and make a Gujarati (Indian) dish – ‘Mathiya’ at home. As a child, I used to cherish those days of prep before Festivals, where there was a prominent culture of co-cooking amongst the close family members at home. The experience of coming together and performing a common activity like cooking leads to shared excitement, happiness and enjoyment. Sharing stories with each other, learning techniques of cooking the dish, and sharing each other’s fond and daily life experiences were complimentary in those gatherings. I am amused now by remembering how my Grandma and Mother rarely used recipe books or videos as guides to cook recipes rather they usually would learn from each other. 

Maybe, this is how the generations before ours learnt recipes and techniques! Guiding each other, sharing cooking stories, recommending the ‘must try’ dishes or maybe discussing the process of cooking a dish so it tastes the same it did at ‘that party’? When I look back at these practices, they are performed less these days with the availability of abundant products in the market, their easy accessibility & affordability and the due to the expansion of Social Media. 

These times of my childhood events have inspired me to create work that is surrounding social innovation. As an MA Sustainable Design student at Kingston University, I worked on my major project focusing on Social Innovation through Service Design. The project was 3 months long in which I conducted research, ideated, collaborated and experimented with my ideas and understandings with various organisations ( stakeholders). The project is called ‘Recipes from Home’ where I have tried to evoke and encourage the essence of community, collaboration and inclusivity through cooking; inspired by my childhood experiences of family gatherings.

Communities + Food + Culture. 

In this age of fast-moving and busy lives, Recipes of Home is a project interrogating and understanding the relationship between Communities, their traditional recipes and food culture. It is an attempt that encourages community cooking and eating healthy through sharing and cooking an individual’s home recipe with a group of participants. The concept is not just accustomed to involving professional chefs but is designed to be performed and hosted by anyone with a group of friends, family or as an organization. 

The project aligned is with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, No. 2 (Zero Hunger) and No. 3 (Good Health with Wellbeing) and is adaptable for various economic groups of society as well. It promotes Community cooking and encourages propagating knowledge of various cultural recipes that indirectly can help in the versatility and variety of budget cooking to the economically deprived as well. The product of this project is physical gathering and co-cooking events that help in experiencing cooking and remembering recipes as a group. The real essence and intention of the project can only be seen when practiced with various economic groups.

I conducted a pilot event as a part of my project outcome where all the participants were strangers in the same kitchen. My space of kitchen in the event was a set of some basic furniture i.e. a huge table comforting ‘hands in action’ of 6 people and 5-6 chairs.  It was interesting to see how Co-cooking helped to comfort and learn from each other. Experiencing the recipe helped the participants to learn and remember it. Few remembered it as an experience, few remembered by noting the recipe down and me by conducting it. 

For a detailed view of the project and the pilot event, you can visit

What was my learning from the activity?

  1. Participants Enjoyed the process of Co – cooking and participation.
  2.  When asked, they hardly gave an hour or two in their daily lives to cooking, due to a busy work schedules or tiredness from work. Co-cooking at home with Family in Daily lives can lessen a person’s stress of prepping and cooking.
  3.  The idea of Co – cooking seemed beneficial to participants encouraging interaction, learning from each other, saving time and money using shared resources and sharing skills and knowledge with each other.
  4. Less knowledge about various recipes can be a considerable factor to motivate participants to eat outside.
  5.  Not all think – knowing traditional recipes are important. However, knowledge of various recipes would help in fusing two dishes or innovating a new one.

  Do you think of conducting co-cooking events? When, where and why would you do it? 

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