Monday, August 31, 2009

Foodie Cooking Club aka Supper Club

The clinking of glasses and soft laughter. Delicious food shared with friends. Good conversation served with coffee and dessert.

The term “supper club” ranks up there in being passé along with the Tupperware and Home Interior parties that our mothers used to throw on Saturday evenings.

Who would have thought a form of entertainment and social gathering that has been obsolete would reemerge as the newest trend in foodie circles? But, now just change the word “supper” to “cooking,” and you are well on your way to forming a hip network that every foodie who is any foodie wants to be a part of these cooking clubs have been showcased in specials on NPR and the Food Network, just to name a few the cooking club phenomenon continues to spread — The idea is simple, because all members share a common interest in cooking and meal planning, creating the menu —and the meal itself — is a team effort.

Pick a Theme

Theme nights are a favorite way to keep meetings exciting.

Try Something New

Encouraging each other to “cook outside the box” is common practice in the long-standing supper clubs. Members take on dishes they typically avoid in order to expand their repertoires. After all, they’re among friends, and it’s part of the learning process. In fact, learning is status quo for all cooking clubs.

Cook for a Cause

Some supper clubs have a socially conscious bent. Create an annual Christmas tradition: They bake cookies to deliver to firefighters and other folks whose hard work often goes unrecognized. Cook a meal at the local Ronald McDonald house.

Hit the Road

Several supper clubs that take their group on the road. A Boston-area club takes a trip every fall - the group rented a house near the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont. In addition to touring the center and buying baking equipment, they cooked all of their meals together and visited local food co-ops and farmers’ markets. They enjoyed themselves so much they returned a year later. Relax and visit local food attractions. Your trunk will be filled with apples, ravioli, and maple syrup.

Communal Cooking

One of the goals of communal cooking is to make the job fun (and easy) for everyone, especially the host. Follow these tips and recipes for a party that truly cooks:

Team up with another friend to organize the party. Two heads (and sets of hands) are better than one.

E-mail the menu and a recipe to each guest. Help them decide what portions of the recipe to make ahead and what equipment they need to bring.

Arrange the equipment and ingredients for each dish ahead of time. Think through the prep for each recipe, and set out specialty dishes and tools in advance. This will keep folks from peering into every drawer and cabinet in your kitchen. Plus, have your guests bring (and wash) their own equipment. Mark pieces with colored tape to identify whose is whose.

Make a copy of the menu and each recipe for guests to follow.

Appoint someone to be in charge of each course

It is my goad to beging a club in the next 30-60 days! If you're interested, email me at

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