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Cookbook Club

Here’s the book club you need to start.

For years, I have been hearing people talk about ‘cookbook clubs,’ but I have never had the opportunity to join one. 

The idea behind a cookbook club is that each month we pick a cookbook, and everyone brings a dish (or two, if you have the energy) from the book. Then we get together and enjoy the food, comment on what worked, and connect. 

I had an if-you-build-it-they-will-come moment, and put on paper what a club gathering might look like. (The beauty of designing your own club is that you set the rules!) Sure enough, a few friends wanted to join in, and our club is a wild success.

If you’d like to start one, feel free to review our guidelines, see what works, and start your own!

Inaugural Meeting

Our first gathering featured dishes from the 2023 cookbook Pomegranates and Artichokes by Saghar Setareh, or @labnoon. This book features dishes from Iran, Italy, and across the Mediterranean. = Yum.

Cookbook Club Guidelines

If you’d like to start a cookbook club, read on for our club guidelines (feel free to copy/paste/adjust as needed). Our group uses a spreadsheet to track contact info and who’s bringing what. Each month, we send out a link to the sheet and ask for input. 

How it Works

  • Prior to each meeting, we pick a cookbook. 
  • Everyone participating cooks one dish from the (same) book, for the group to share and discuss. 
  • In advance of the meeting, sign up for the dish you wish to prepare. (Look out for an email prompt.)

What to Bring

  • Have your dish ready to go upon arrival. Don’t plan on cooking at the meeting location. Bring serving utensils.
  • Most recipes are for 4-6 servings. Don’t double the recipe; there will be plenty for everyone to get one scoop.
  • The host will provide plates, but if your dish requires special bowls, etc., please bring enough for everyone.

Schedule & Time Commitment

  • Meetings are first Sunday of the month, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Meetings limited to 90 minutes.

Agenda

  • 10 min – Arrival and set up
  • 15 min – Host welcome/Introductions; everyone makes a plate
  • 40 min – Discussion: Host facilitates round-robin discussion
    • For discussion: Each person speaks to the recipe, such as color commentary on ease of preparation, or ideas for alternative ingredients, etc.
    • Note: Divide the time (40 min.) by number of people to ensure everyone gets a turn.
  • 15 min – Mix and mingle
  • 10 min – Clean up and departure

Location/Host’s Role

  • Host/facilitator rotates each meeting. Host identifies location (their home or a public space that allows for food.)    
  • Host provides plates/flatware/cups/drinks and a space to set out the dishes. Nametags and take-home boxes are a great idea, too.
  • Host is the facilitator for that particular meeting. Host manages the time and guides the discussion.

Other Notes

  • Drop ins welcome. No need to be a “regular” member and no shame if you can’t attend every session. Come when you can.
  • Expectation is that you take your leftovers home (or bring small containers for others—up to each chef.)
  • If you have concerns about pets or any food allergies, coordinate with the host in advance.