A new twist on book club or simply a great way to
fit in a few more dinner dates this year...
About six years ago, Ashley
and I started a
gourmet group with
some of our friends. It's been a fun way to share our
love of cooking and
learn lots of great new things from the other group members. We meet
five times a year and take turns hosting and choosing a cookbook or website
group member is responsible for a category from the book or site. So
when it's my turn to bring a soup, for example, I choose a soup from the
assignment and bring enough for everyone to try some. The host is
generally responsible for the main course, and other categories range from
dessert to appetizer,
depending on the cookbook. The result is a wonderful night of
spectacular food and conversation with
We've found it helpful over the years to start a
where everyone can RSVP, find out what the next book is, and leave comments
on recipes they've tried. While anything goes with this idea, usually
in our group has set a nice
table and taken the responsibility to remind the group about the dinner.
It's always a long anticipated escape from the pressures of life, and a
way to sit and talk casually without meeting at a crowded restaurant.
As far as numbers go, it's mostly a matter of seating: anywhere from
six to twelve members makes a nice group. In our
we only have women and the occasional infant, but
groups would work well too. The possibilities are endless!
is how we have formatted it-
Set up a blog and choose
a coordinator. This way one person can send out the emails, create the
schedule and make the assigments. It helps it run more smoothly.
We meet in January, March, May, August, & October, giving us longer
breaks for summer and the holidays.
The host chooses a book.
The book schedule is set 1-2 years in advance so members can purchase them
when they want to. Not everyone buys the book every time. We
pass them around sometimes or look to see if there is a website by the
Set an RSVP deadline 1 month in advance. Those who can
come are assigned a dish. We have a rotating schedule for this:
entree (host), appetizer, soup, salad, side, and dessert. We usually
have 6-8 people come so we sometimes assign two appetizers, salads, or
To get the most from each book we ask for two recipe
reviews from each member for each book. We put these in the comment
section of the blog. Included is the recipe name and page number,
rating (1-5, 5 being the best), difficulty (easy, moderate, hard), changes
made, and any additional comments.