#30DaysofGOOD Challenge: 18. Cook Dinner for Someone

Each month, we challenge our community to do something that will improve the world around us—and our own lives. September's challenge? To connect.

Welcome to The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD). Each month, we challenge our community members to do something that will improve the world around us—and our own lives. The challenge for September? To connect with other people. In an effort to help us all rise to the occasion, we're going to assign one small task every day. Each morning, we will post the challenge on and Twitter, along with a testimonial from someone on the GOOD team who's already completed it. We invite you to complete all 30 mini-challenges with us! Today, we challenge you to:

Cook dinner for someone.

My roommate recently returned from a few months of work in D.C., so I thought a nice home-cooked meal would give us a chance to catch up. I love to cook, and I love cooking for others all the more. Dinner with my roommates is not so unusual, but I resolved to approach my time in the kitchen with a bit more attention to whom I'm cooking for, rather than just what may be burning on the stove.

My time in the kitchen actually started at the market with my roommate the day before. We stocked up on fresh veggies, shared a coffee and reviewed our respective world histories from the last few months. Then it was off to the butcher; we needed a good bird to roast. Throughout the morning we swapped stories. I got to learn more about her recent projects, travels, and relationships. Before long the morning turned into afternoon, and we were yammering away at a pastry shop. Our shopping trip had grown long and inefficient, and it had proven to be an excellent way to spend the day.

The day of the meal, after many long hours at work, a protracted dentist's appointment and a long bus ride home, I finally arrived in my kitchen at around 8:30. I still had a bit of work to do, and it was arguably too late to be turning on the oven. I was beginning to convince myself that there's always tomorrow. However, with four of my roomies standing around the kitchen, we all decided to dig in and make it happen. What I thought would be my sole service to a friend had become a group effort and, unsurprisingly, a lot more fun. After an hour or two, the five of us sat down to a meal of roasted chicken, tomato salad, asparagus with lemon, beets with candied walnuts, and strawberries with mint and feta. The extra time spent cooking (and the fact that it was 10:30 p.m.) made us appreciate the meal all the more.

One of my roommates was about to move out, while another had just arrived as a replacement, so the the night turned into a nice welcome back/hello/goodbye dinner. We chatted into the early morning, until we finally had to admit it was a school night. I was glad a simple dinner had expanded both in guests and in time. It was time that I'm sure will prove more memorable than the same hours spent with my nose pressed against a computer screen. We stacked a substantial tower of dirty dishes and greasy pans, said goodnight, and turned out the lights—there's always tomorrow.

- Ben Callaway


Ready, set, go! Good luck completing today's challenge. Share your experience on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook by using the hashtag #30DaysofGOOD, or let us know how it went in the comments section below.

Tomorrow's challenge: Send a friend three links they will love.