hOURS is a fantastic idea. So far, in just two exchanges, hOURS has prompted me to explore new cuisine, provided a fun experience that my boyfriend and I could share, and allowed me to "get out of" doing things I don't necessarily like.
I was first contacted to provide cooking services to a vegetarian family. Since I am not a vegetarian (hell, I'm not even a great fan of vegetables), finding a recipe and cooking the meal was a new experience. I found this wonderful South African vegetable casserole that I made, and now, not only do I know how to cook some South African food, I also have a vegetarian meal that I will actually eat! I decided to enlist the help of my boyfriend, who also likes to cook, in the process, and we had great fun making it an entertaining experience for the both of us. When it came time to "cash in" my hours, I was able to exchange them for some much needed cleaning of my apartment. At that point I realized what a gift hOURS was. With hOURS, I can do more of something I do like (cooking) so I can do less of something I don't (cleaning).
The other end result of this one experience that I am just realizing as I write, was that my interest in joining Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) came, in part, from my cooking experience. It was great fun having to get creative and make food that I normally didn't cook or eat. I imagine that when I start receiving shares of a local farmer's production, not always knowing exactly what's going to be in the bushel, I will also have fun figuring out new things to cook.
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