The Zen of Slow Cooking

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Slow Cooking With Impact

The soul of the zen of slow cooking lies in Meg Barnhart’s and Jane McKay’s desire to help the home cook find a little more Zen in the kitchen, while the heart lies in their dream of helping adults with developmental challenges find independence in life through slow cooking.

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About The Zen of Slow Cooking

As two busy moms, Meg and Jane discovered the Zen-like effect of slow cooking: the ability to create a delicious, healthy dinner from scratch with less stress. They launched the zen of slow cooking food blog in 2012 featuring globally inspired, contemporary slow cooker recipes that encourage people to gather around the dinner table. Noting which recipes interested their readers the most, Meg and Jane created a line of gourmet Slow Cooker Spice Blends with signature recipes: Coq au Vin, Daube Provencal, Indian Dal, Mediterranean, Moroccan Tagine, Sichuan, Smoky BBQ, Southwest Fiesta, Sweet and Spicy.

Each blend is crafted using premium, non-irradiated, non-GMO spices such as fragrant cumin, smoked paprika, coriander seed, lemony Sichuan peppercorns and saffron sourced from Afghanistan. In 2016, the zen of slow cooking was named a finalist in Chicago’s Next Best Food competition and in 2017, the newest product, Sichuan Slow Cooker Spice Blend, was named a sofi Award winner (specialty outstanding food innovation) by the Specialty Food Association.

With their blends selling well, Meg and Jane turned to their dream of bringing sustainable employment to adults with cognitive disabilities, a cause that is special to Meg because of her own son’s learning challenges. They knew that only 24% of adults with developmental disabilities in their home state of Illinois can find employment. Believing that everyone has something to contribute to the world, Meg and Jane approached Planet Access Company (PAC), a packaging, shipping and warehousing company that is part of Search, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) not-for- profit company that serves adults with special needs). Each spice blend arrives at PAC in a sealed packet and is then sealed inside a finished pouch and labeled with care by adults with developmental disabilities. In 2013, three individuals packaged the zen of slow cooking blends. Now 30 adults prepare the blends for shipping, proving that Meg and Jane’s employment model can be successful.

The Change We Seek

The Zen of Slow Cooking has a passion to help people slow down and gather over the shared meal. We are also a social impact business providing employment for adults with developmental disabilities. Our commitment to this mission is due in large part to Meg's personal desire to create a business for her own son.