Frugal Foodies: a cool idea started in the Bay area that could spread

Posted on July 10, 2008. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Entertainment, San Francisco Bay Area, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , , , |

I am not a vegetarian and I probably never will be. However, I do have my vegetarian “days” at least a few times a week. Frugal Foodies is a great way to try new cuisines, learn new recipes, meet new and interesting people, and have a four course vegetarian, mostly organic meal for only $8.00! Sort of like a healthy, cheap, epicurean group blind date!

How Frugal Foodies Works:
Each and every week, on several nights and in several locations, about 10-20 people will get together to cook a mostly organic and entirely vegetarian meal, eat, clean-up, and connect with one another. This is not an exclusive club so there will never be the same group of people on any given Tuesday or Wednesday, and that’s a good thing.

Each week, the Frugal Foodies host will buy fresh ingredients for the meal that will be ready for your arrival. The meal that we prepare will always feature four or more dishes but what those dishes are will depend on the particular event’s theme. This is not about gourmet so much as it is learning about good new meals and cooking as a group.

I will be signing up for one of the weekly Wednesday night events in San Jose this month. It’s just going to be hard to decide which one… Thai food, Soul food, breakfast for dinner, red wine tour night, or magical mystery night?

When I asked Frugal Foodies founder Moses Ceaser, about his plans for events beyond the two San Jose and Berkeley locations, he said,
“We’re hoping to grow Frugal Foodies all over, but aren’t quite set up for total global expansion yet. But it’s exciting to now have two locations, and folks are having a good time with it, so I expect lots of further growth.”

Occasionally, Frugal Foodies will also give back with a benefit night for a local non-profit, such as the Greatest Hits themed dinner coming up in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 29th.

I first heard about Frugal Foodies in this recent San Jose Mercury News article:

A la carte: Roommates invite strangers into their home to cook dinner
By Aleta Watson
Mercury News
Article Launched: 06/25/2008 01:31:33 AM PDT

Every Tuesday night for three years, Moses Ceaser has invited a dozen strangers to help cook an inexpensive vegetarian meal in his Berkeley home. He calls the ever-changing group Frugal Foodies.

This month, the concept expanded to downtown San Jose, where a group of housemates has designated Wednesday as Frugal Foodie night. The first event was a pineapple-themed dinner last week that started with a rice casserole and ended with a cake.

“I know no one who arrived at our house to cook,” says Daniel Rodriguez, who shares the bungalow and its big organic garden with Jaclyn Carillo and Melissa Ramirez. “It was great.”

The organizers pick theme, select the recipes and buy the ingredients. The guests divide into teams and share the cooking. The cost is $8.

This week the theme is breakfast foods – fritattas, crepes, French toast, coffee and smoothies. Future themes are still in the works.

Information about the cooking group and how to preregister for dinners can be found at http://www.frugalfoodies.com/SJO1.html.

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