Sometimes I struggle with an idea for a column and I look to friends and family for inspiration. I had read recently on facebook that a girlfriend wanted to start a book club and I responded that it would be a great idea I have always wanted to be part of a book club. Then, I mentioned it to another friend and she said, "I have always wanted to start a cookbook club". My mind started to spin (which in retrospect might have just been vertigo).hmmmm this sounds interesting.
"What the heck is a cookbook club?" I replied, intrigued because I do enjoy reading about food, I just don't execute the cooking part well.
She went on to explain that a cookbook club is similar to a book club, but instead of reading Pride and Prejudice, you read The Joy of Cooking or Happy Days with the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver. There are so many cookbooks out there, that you can literally travel the world through food. Visit Italy, Greece, France.without setting food on their soil you can get a glimpse of their culture through food.
Do you want to start a cookbook club? Here is how.
Calling all foodies! Start with a group of no more than 6 foodies. They don't have to be great cooks, they just need to want to enjoy food. Those chosen for your group must be unafraid to take chances and try new things. A cookbook club is about growing as a food lover. It is about learning to appreciate new flavours, new sensations.
Making it work - How often will you meet? Where will you meet? Who gets to choose the books? Cookbook Clubs are a little different than book clubs in that the books are oftentimes more expensive. Your group may want to meet every two months instead of every month. This is a little easier on the pocketbook and also gives everyone time to try as many recipes as they can from the chosen cookbook and find one which they would like to share. Each member of the group will take a turn hosting and will be responsible for preparing the entrée. The other members will bring another dish prepared from the cookbook, i.e. appetizer(s), side dishes, salad, soup, dessert, etc. At the end of the meal, the group decides on the title of the next cookbook.
Don't forget the wine Don't shy away from speaking with a local sommelier or even just googling to determine which wines might pair with your respective dish. You would be amazed at how much better the wine and food tastes when paired correctly. Don't limit yourself to only wine..if you are serving an spicy Chinese dish, there are great Chinese beer's which are a wonderful accompaniment.
Read all about it Don't just stop at cooking a recipe from the chosen cookbook. Take it upon yourself to find out a little more about either the author, the country of food origin, or something unique to the region. Share that information with your fellow club members.it will enhance your experience.
Theme it There are really great food themes, which you can try to incorporate. You can find cookbooks about Southern Cooking, ethnic cooking, crock pot cookery, seafood, barebeques/grilling, cookies, cakes, cupcakesyou name it. Amazon.com is an amazing resource for finding great cookbooks.
Turn that frown upside down Don't be sad if you find out you hate a certain type of food. The experience wasn't a waste hopefully the wine was good!
Passport to flavour It might be a nice touch to create booklets for the club members where they can record information such as what they thought of the cookbook, the recipes, etc. Think of it as a kind of passport, which will record their epicure experiences.
Blog about it It worked for Julie Powell when she blogged about her year long journey through Julia Child's cookbook. Blogs are free, blogs are easy to do and it might be a nice fit for your group. You can post pictures of your prepared dishes, reviews of the cookbook and reflections on your overall experience. Loads of fun!
Okay.so now I have combined my three favourite things which are Books, Food, and Friends. What could be better than that!
Judy Kucharuk is owner of Footprint Management Systems Inc. and specializes in Green Meetings and Events. For more info log onto www.managefootprint.com or check out her Facebook page, the "Green Eyed Event Planner"