A cooking club is just what it sounds like – a group of people who come together to share their love of cooking, eating and food in general. Many people who join cooking clubs have a vested interest in food and are looking to meet other like-minded people. Others choose to join a group to encourage themselves to cook more, or even to get out of a culinary rut of only preparing the same few foods over and over again. You can start one with existing friends, or start one (or join one) to meet new people. Whatever your reason. Cooking Club: Great Ideas and Delicious Recipes for Fabulous Get-Togethers is a good place to get started, as the book is all about how to start a cooking club.
The introduction covers a lot of the logistics of putting your club together, such as coming up with some goals for the group – lower fat cooking, international cooking, etc. – and determining where and when you all will meet. It also points out little things that might cause a few glitches down the line if you don’t think them through in advance, like who does the dishes and how will the leftovers be divided up. After the intro, the book is divided up into complete menus with recipes for all the dishes it mentions. The menus are mostly seasonal and include several “exotic” themes, such as Hawaiian Luau and Thai Cuisine.
The recipes are easy to follow and, although there are more photos of cooking clubs meeting than of the dishes themselves, there are lovely descriptions of each of the foods that precede each recipe, describing flavor of the food, the history of the dish and/or how the recipe was put together. There are also some tips sprinkled throughout that will help with the planning of meetings, including where to shop and how to add a little ambiance to a room to better set the mood. The book is encouraging and definitely makes you want to go out, join a club and get cooking!