Cooking for lunch break

Over the last couple of years my team and I have started a little tradition: At least once every week we try to find time to cook something together during our lunch break. The initial reason was that there were simply no good restaurants close to our office and delivery services were not exactly known for their stellar quality around here. Eventually that also turned into probably one of the best ways to relax during the workday while still solving problems! Having freshly prepared and delicious meals is also nice πŸ˜‰

Spanish omelette

Sure, preparing a meal is something completely different from building ecommerce solutions but it’s still a great way to improve team-work. You also get to know each other better than you would in any kind of development context. If the company also provides you the infrastructure (kitchen, …) and understands that extending a lunch break for team-building is good thing, it’s a perfect combination!

Sure, non of us is a professional chef but our Spaghetti Bolognese, Chili Con Carne, and Meat with Vegetables are great! Last year I also tried to find new recipes through Google+’s vibrant food community and various food bloggers.

But for some reason we stopped trying new stuff. Perhaps it was just laziness but it’s also hard to estimate how long it would take to prepare a new meal and so we kept with what we new. That had another nasty side-effect: Everything was completely routine now. When we went into the kitchen it was clear who’d cut the onions, who’d prepare the meal, who’d cook the pasta. It became boring.

To get out of this state, we tried something new last week: HelloFresh. If you live in Austria or Germany you’ve probably got tons of vouchers from them if you regularly order with Amazon.

One of recipes from HelloFresh: Bean Wraps

What’s nice about them is that they do the shopping for you. You get a box with nearly all the ingredients you will need for preparing 3 meals for either 2 or 4 people each in the mail once per week. Combined with the recipes, which are also in the box, and some basic kitchen items like salt, pepper, and oil that’s all you need.

We just got a sampler box to give it a shot and it worked out remarkably well. The jury’s still out on when we will order the next box, but the recipes were delicious and the ingredients were of high quality. We added two of the meals to our team-internal recipe-collection for later re-cooking πŸ˜‰ And it brought the fun back into the kitchen!

I’m not sure what we’re going to do next. Perhaps again try some food blogs, another HelloFresh box, or something else entirely. But last week was great fun and I would very much like to have that every week again πŸ˜ƒ