Four folks from one of my book clubs lingered after a meeting to talk about some of the cookbooks on Gabrielle, the hostess's, shelf. She mentioned that she had been in a cookbook club in NY. Lauren and Steve both murmured approval, while I gasped as it sounded like such a great idea how come I had never heard of such a thing? A few months go by, including xmas and NYE, so finally it was time to get to figuring out how we wanted to work our Cookbook Club. Lauren and I met up to discuss inaugural book and calendar it. Micromanage-y systems nerd that I am, I also thought it would be helpful (at least to me) to hammer out protocols for how meetings will go down, as well as some guidelines. I think we had a great brainstorm session! We also came up with possible questions (and answers, in our opinions) that folks might have, which I'm including here, humoring my anticipatory particularity as a recovering small business owner/boss.
Cookbook - Burma Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid
Protocols aka Rules aka Guidelines
- Each meeting one book is selected (more info below on selection process). Over the three preceding months, each cook cooks as much or as little as they're inspired to. We meet every three months, bringing at least 1 dish in our assigned/chosen category. Discuss experience.
- To start, each of us core 4 invite one other cookbook-minded person to participate for a total of 8
- meet the last Saturday every three months starting April 30, 2016 [July 30, Oct 29, Jan 28, 2017]
- Divide recipes/meals into four categories
• Starters / hors d'oevres
• Side dishes / salads
• Desserts, misc
- each of us + our invitee take one category and make one dish each from that category for a total of eight dishes minimum
- host = main dish; other categories on first dibs basis or by rotation (?tbd)
- Rotate houses by volunteer or planned (?tbd)
- Book Selection: to each meeting we bring the book from which we are cooking (ex. April = Burma) and one other book as Nomination for the following meeting. Throughout the evening we will all then have the opportunity to actually look through all the nominated books. Ranked ballots (designed by Lauren, thank you Lauren!) will be filled out before the end of the evening and a winner chosen for the following meeting.
- BYO serving dish and serving utensil for your dish; Tupperware if you want to take home leftovers
- everyone brings one bottle wine or equivalent Beer/Cider or EANABs (equally attractive non-alcoholic beverages); theme pairing a plus but not required
- Host is responsible for silverware and dishes for the group as they see fit
- Time breakdown, approximate
• 5:30-6 - Starters cooks use kitchen as needed and put out food for tasting6-6:30 - Salads and sides cooks use kitchen as needed and put out food for tasting
• 6:30-7:30 - Mains cooks use kitchen and put out food for tasting
•7:30- Desserts cooks use kitchen and put out food for tasting
•8/8:30 -> discuss
- Before we leave, count ballots and Next Cookbook selected
- Food served buffet style
(okay, not really. How about "PAQ = Possible Anticipated Questions"?)
Can we bring our husband, girlfriend, best friend, kids?
No. Let's keep chaos, headcount, dishes to a minimum.
But what if I'm hosting? Can they be around? Taste stuff?
If you're hosting, then they can be around to the extent that they don't interrupt/distract. Tasting should be fine, but we can reevaluate down the road if issues present.
Is it the same 8 participants every time?
See notes below on Wait List and Attendance.
What if one of the recipes in the book is a cocktail, can we do that?
Sure, it can count under "misc" / dessert
Will we be cooking and eating in the same room?
Depends on the host's set-up. If possible, served dishes & tasting should be separated for space and reduction of chaos for the cooks, but space may not always allow....
What if I'm allergic to something or have food sensitivity or am vegetarian, etc?
There should be enough food on the table that individuals with issues can work around dishes that don't jive with their limitations.
Can I tweak the recipe?
Because of food sensitivities, if you add something to a recipe that isn't on the printed recipe, please note it. If a recipe needs too much tweaking, maybe do half tweaked and half according to the book. This question would be an interesting discussion....
Notes on Attendance: tbd, as Lauren and I didn't cover it:
-Commitment to participate
-Deadline to commit to next meeting... the meeting before?
-Develop/cultivate a wait list / sub list
-"miss two and it sucks to be you" = miss two in a row and you lose priority status and go to
wait list? or current attendees always get first dibs for next meeting?
-How long does waitlistee have to snatch spot if one opens? top to bottom, or open it to all and first to claim it, gets it? I like latter.
Do you belong to a Cookbook Club?
Do you have any great ideas/sources for group management besides FB? I'm fine with that, but I know not everyone uses it. If there is another idea or option for communicating, I'd love to learn about it. Does Google have something?