Gourmet Group

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 for the dinner.  Each 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 old friends. 


    We've found it helpful over the years to start a blog 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 the hostess 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 comfortable 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 group, we only have women and the occasional infant, but couple groups would work well too. The possibilities are endless!


This 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 author.

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 desserts.

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.

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