We had so much fun at our first Cookbook Club night, that sharing a few helpful hints for you to create your own Cookbook Club nite is a must!
To begin with, keep the numbers few.
Invite a few friends. I know. This can be hard to do, for once we invite one friend we think of many more who would love to come, of course. Keeping it small keeps it intimate, allowing new acquaintances to become dear friends. There were just the eight of us this evening.
Set a fun table.
Our family almost always has dinner together. I sometimes put fresh flowers on the table, or use a different cloth napkin, but mostly, I don’t take the time to make it super special. Cookbook Club is the time for just that. Pull out the good stuff. Or purchase one special decoration or serving plater for the table. Don’t worry about everything being perfect, but do have fun with it. Make it a little expression of who you are.
The hostess chooses the Cookbook and recipes.
Monica assigned us each particular recipes from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Everyday. These cookbooks are here at Warmth Company, and really do only cost about as much as a meal out.
Our lovely hostess prepared hors d’oeuvres, White Sangria with Agave Nectar and Drunken Peaches, and the main dish of Garbanzo Burgers. The garbanzo patty was creatively turned into the bun, and stuffed with a wasabi mayonaise, tziziki, sliced tomatoes, avacado, sprouts and onions. It was a hit! Even the guys liked this meatless main dish! Bob and Tom, Monica and Naomi’s husbands are vintners. They brought the best wine I think I have ever tasted!
Karen made a unique, scrumptious Black Bean and Roasted Tomato Salad that we all will be making again!
Shredded Green Beans was my offering. I will soon show this recipe in step-by-step pictures. You can see how well these dishes went together.
We topped off the evening with Naomi’s Quinoa Cookies
and Raspberry Curd Swirl Cake,
all from these great cookbooks by Heidi Swanson. Naomi substituted lemon curd for the raspberry in the cake, bringing about a perfectly rich cake with a crisp lemony flavor and an amazing carmely crust. The recipes in Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Every Day are made with healthy ingredients, too, making desserts a little less guilty.
Take time to talk about each dish.
Our hostess, Monica, began by telling us how her dish was made, including any changes she decided on, and maybe what she would do differently next time. The recipe didn’t call for the tziziki or wasabi mayonaise, but we all agreed it was an important addition. The rest of us then chimed in with our thoughts. A story here and there, and maybe another glass of wine was poured, before the next person shared the details of her recipe.
Choose recipes that are outside your comfort zone.
Cookbook Club is a time to try new and interesting things. A time to get out of our usual cooking groove. A time to try something different. Warmth Company has a large selection of inspiring cookbooks.
Decide if it will be a girl’s only event, a family or couple’s nite.
We really had a great time as couples. This evening, only the ladies did the cooking, but the men are already talking of the foods they might embark upon making. There was talk of crawdads, and let me just say that if crawdads and other such lovelies are on the menu, my husband will be doing the cooking that night! And he would jump at the opportunity to make it, I know! He would love it.
Find a time and set a schedule that works best for everybody.
We chose to meet about every 6 weeks, and on a weeknite. Weekends can get tricky with that being a time for going out of town, or other get-togethers. It is a good idea, but not necessary, for the next hostess to have her cookbook and recipes ready to assign for the next Cookbook Club gathering. My turn to host the Warmth Company Cookbook Club is a few months away, but I am already perusing a sea of cookbooks in the hunt for the makings of a great evening with friends.
I hope this inspires you to have a cookbook club of your own. It is truly a good thing. Let us know how your gathering of friends goes!