Cooking club question & a big thank you

elba1February 16, 2012

Hi all, didn't want to hijack the post asking about new cookbooks, and was curious about the cooking club she mentioned. So Alexa, or anyone else that might do something similar - how does that work? Do you all cook ahead then share a meal, does the host provide the beverages & rotate houses each month, etc.?

Also wanted to offer up a big thank you to all you knowledgeable and generous cooks! I started following this forum after the holidays, and have already gotten some great advice from questions asked, and just by reading along. Had my book club here last night, the raspberry ribbons and of course bretzel rolls were a hit with the flavored mustards & cheese dip I warmed with a tea light candle over a small crock - all suggestions from here. Never had a dutch oven, but after reading the post about if you could only have 3 came up enough times thought I better get one - already made a pot roast & 2 soups in it over the past week. I'm hoping to start making bread - had to go get my first Kitchen Aid mixer at Costco after I learned here about the sale & rebate! I was another one confused how meat could come out dry in a crock pot with all that liquid, so I took a poster's advice on that thread & made a pork roast in it without extra liquid, and it was great! Also tried the "sticky chicken" in the crock pot, but I overcooked it - I don't know why, but the pop up timer on the chicken never popped up, and I was waiting for that - maybe they don't work in a crock pot? Anyway, it's great to have such cooking inspiration - thank you!

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Don't know about a cooking club....all I have ever belonged to is an eating club....
Gets expensive hanging around this forum, doesn't it!!! Glad you are enjoying your new toys.
Linda c

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 2:51PM
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Welcome and it is so nice to see a new Cooking Forum addict!

To give you a little idea how our cooking club works.... For the first meeting I chose the book to get us started then each month we choose a cookbook for the next months meeting. A few people will suggest something and since we are hosted by a local indy bookstore we vote for something they have in stock and can order easily for us. While we are deciding we can pass and preview thw book before it is selected. Quite often if it isn't a cookbook a I want, someone else who does want it will share it so there is no pressure to buy every cookbook either. I wasn;t at the last meeting and it seems there was a new person who was very vocal about chosing the Jamie Oliver book that everyone ended up disliking. Oh well - it happens.

Anyway, we start an email chain 2 weeks before the next meeting and "claim" a recipe to make for meeting night. If something comes up and a member can't make a dish, it is no biggie, that person will usually pick up a bottle of wine or a great loaf of bread or something easy that will compliment the feast. We avoid duplicating recipes that way and it seems we get a really good balance of apps, main dishes, sides and desserts. I can't tell you if that is by luck or design, because no one is assigned anything, you just look through the book and if the recipe isn't claimed it is open to make. On meeting night we gather at the bookstore and take turns discussing the cookbook (pros and cons) and the recipe in particular and taste taste taste. There is ALWAYS wine since even if no one brings any, the bookstore has a couple of boxes available if we need them.

The owner also (graciously) gives members 20% discount on any books purchased the night of a meeting.

It is a great way to support our local indy bookstore and I have made some great friends at the meetings. The bookstore does the advertising - meetings are open to anyone - and I maintain a blog of the meetings for anyone who missed one or just wants to see what we made.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Years ago I belonged to a group of "cooking and herb" enthusiasts who met regularly to cook together and share a meal. One time we met to make fresh pasta and some sauces which we had with bread and salad already prepared. Another time I had the group at my house for Osso Bucco that I prepared with the other members bringing the rest of the dinner from the menu I had set. We also made a soup lunch for a meeting of farmers in the NC herb growers association as one of our members belonged to that organization. Another time we helped our organic farmer member with a weekend herb festival at her farm. We always had a great time together.

I think there were 6-8 members in our group and we did not meet every month. You may wish to limit the size of the group to 8-12 if you are including spouses, just for convenience in setting up tables and chairs.

The important thing is to be sure that all involved are really dedicated cooks who are interested in learning and sharing with others. It would be rather hard to "get rid" of a member who was not interested in cooking from scratch and trying new recipes.

The group or the hosts could decided ahead to assign each member a dish or you could do potluck. It might help to have a theme for each dinner, with dishes, wine, music, decor, etc. to carry out that theme. If you want to have wines with each course or 1 or 2 wines with the meal, that could be another assignment.

This group activity can be a lot of fun if everyone is on board, so to speak.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Our cooking club is called Gourmet Club by it's members and over the last 12 years we sure have progressed from doctored brownies from a box (true, I swear) to some very fancy dishes.

We meet every two months or so, there are 7 couples (which is really too many but how do you ask someone to leave?) and it is actually a themed evening.

The hosting couple picks the theme and makes the main dish. Appetizers, soup/salad, side dishes and desserts are handled each by a couple and the final two couples take care of alcoholic drinks. Everything must fit the theme and be made from scratch. Other than that no rules.

We take turns rotating the courses and we use google docs to make sure everything is kept fair.

Our upcoming theme is 2012 oscar nominated movies.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:30PM
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My sister belonged to one. It was a group of maybe 6 couples. The alternated homes and the host/hostess did the main dish & beverages while others brought appetizers, sides & deserts. I think they did it once a month and always had a theme. I.E, Greek, German etc.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:54PM
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How fun! Wish there was something like this here.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 6:18PM
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Lol Lindac, I too am a member of the eating club! Have been trying a little Zumba at home, but not enough to counteract the pretzel rolls and chocolate :).

Thanks all for the various cooking club info, will have to see where I can go with it!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:52PM
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