Food52 Life

Too Many Cooks: Cooking for Others

September 20, 2013

You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

Our friends at Mealku, an NYC-based marketplace for creative home cooks, are sponsoring this article on our favorite dishes to cook for others. 

Chocolate Bundt Cake from Food52

Shop the Story

One of the best things about cooking is being able to share what you make with other people. Whether it's a celebration or a gesture of gratitude, cooking for others -- be it friends, family, or coworkers -- always brings us joy. So this week, we're asking:

What's your favorite dish to cook for others?

We want to hear your favorites -- tell us in the comments!

Cherry Pie on Food52

Marian: I like making people pie. Because then I get to eat pie.

BretteBLONDIES. Always blondies.

BrycePulled pork or pie! 

Kenzi: If I don't have to travel anywhere, then risotto, or a big pot of soup -- like this. If I do, probably cake. If I don't eat it all first.

Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Plums

Maddy: Gumbo with lots and lots of goodies in it: okra, andouille, shrimp, oysters, crab!

Lauren: My go to is a frittata with a potato-layered bottom and lots of goat cheese. In the fall, an apple or pear tart for dessert.  

James: I love making spinach ravioli. My kids love to help, so we always end up with interesting ravioli shapes.

Hannah: This might not count as cooking, but I really like making people sandwiches. And I like to stick in sweet little notes, too. 

RyanIt's-a piz-za pie-a

Pizza from Food52

Gabriella: Pasta alla puttanesca!! With bread and a lot of red wine. (Especially for people who claim they don't like olives -- I've converted a few of them this way.)  

Jennifer: Osso Buco!

Amanda: I make my mother-in-law's almond cake -- it travels well, it's a crowd-pleaser, and no one complains about getting a cake.

BeaOven-fried chicken and buttermilk waffles. It's perfect for any time of the day! 

Merrill: In the fall and winter, I love making stewed and/or braised dishes for a crowd. Also, lasagna.

Birthday Lasagna on Food52

Stephanie: Really any type of baked goods, but my favorite is probably cake. I love a good layer cake, and everyone should have more cake in their lives.

Amelia: My dad has a great recipe for stracotto al Barolo that is served with polenta. It's so simple and you can pretty much throw it all together for less than $15. It's typically what I make when I want to trick people into thinking I'm an amazing cook.

Tell us: What's your favorite dish to cook for others?

Olive Oil Ricotta Cake photo by Eric Moran. All other photos by James Ransom.





This article was brought to you by Mealku.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Cheri Mayell
    Cheri Mayell
  • Shalini
  • Pegeen
  • vvvanessa
  • lauren@kiwi+peach
Amelia Vottero

Written by: Amelia Vottero

former intern, former student, currently hungry


Cheri M. September 6, 2015
Be made
Cheri M. September 6, 2015
Molasses raisen bars sound interesting would love the details, just seen that amazing lasagna dish on another page & it is definitely going to made-large or small,
Shalini September 22, 2013
I don't know what I crave right now, besides a tagine of lamb or beef with maybe prunes and orange or lemon rind, tomato soup and grilled cheese, stuffed Indian-style baby eggplants with a sweet-sour mustard and tamarind gravy, and pizza. Thanks for this list!
Pegeen September 21, 2013
Home-made soup or stew. Or a roast chicken and roast potatoes from the oven, with a little gravyette (doctored pan jus) and hot buttered carrots or green beans, seems to make a lot of people very happy. If it's not evening, then any kind of warm bread, muffins or scones (homemade or not, butter and jam a plus), seem to bring comfort and a smile.
vvvanessa September 21, 2013
Cookies, brownies, or cake. They all make people so happy.
lauren@kiwi+peach September 21, 2013
When folks are coming over, I love making my favorite roasted chicken recipe with sweet potatoes, red onions, and chorizo. Besides being a complete winner in terms of taste, it's my favorite because the sides roast right along with the chicken. All I have to do once it's in the oven are drinks and dessert. There is always dessert.
Comeandcookwithus September 21, 2013
Beets with goat cheese, pulled pork and apple strudel. Sometimes also eggplant parmigiana and wienerschnitzel, so mostly dishes from my childhood home in Northern Italy.
Eva Q. September 20, 2013
Molasses raisin bars. They're the kind of forgotten heirloom recipe that I love sharing: simple, strong flavours, contrasting textures (crisp outside and tender inside) and a wonderfully satisfying bite.
vvvanessa September 21, 2013
Care to share that recipe, Eva Q? I'm intrigued!
Eva Q. September 21, 2013
Sure thing! I just need to take a few half decent photos the next time I make them.
Patrick H. September 20, 2013
Fried Chicken and mashed potatoes.
Smedette September 20, 2013
Soup or big casserole. I'm all about the comfort foods.
Trees September 20, 2013
I love making gingerbread for my family. You can't go wrong with Smitten Kitchen's Gramercy Tavern recipe.
Anne September 20, 2013
Can we beg for that stracotto al Barolo recipe, or is it a closely-guarded family secret?
ryanm September 20, 2013
There's a lamb ragu recipe from the NYTimes a few years ago I make a lot. It's both familiar (ragu) and slightly special (lamb), which I find is a good combination for company coming over.
ZombieCupcake September 20, 2013
Wet brined turkey always seems to bring people together, no matter what the sides are.
Helens September 20, 2013
I love cooking curry for other people, because it's great food for entertaining a crowd, endlessly customizable, low maintenance (i.e. impossible to overcook) and universally loved. Plus I make pretty amazing curries, and who doesn't love to impress people with their culinary skill set (and then feign modesty, of course).

Hmm, perhaps I ought to post some recipes to food52 one of these days.
ryanm September 20, 2013
Yes, please do post the recipes.
BethanyLanell September 20, 2013
Lasagna! Especially when they are coming over.
Jeanean September 20, 2013
First thing I thought of when I read Marian's comment was, what is people pie? Then I got a good chuckle when I read her second sentence. Thanks Marian.
I love to make osso bucco with risotto for dear friends. At the price of veal, they need to be very dear friends.