Our London Cookbook Club met over the summer to share dishes from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen. Click through to see photos from the potluck where our members brought gorgeous dishes made from this cookbook!
As always, Cookbook Club is the embodiment of all of my favorite things: cooking, time with old friends and new, and of course, eating. Every few months I host a potluck, and our club members bring dishes to my London flat to share with each other from a single cookbook. It’s book club, but with food!
This meeting’s selected book was The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo, a Malaysian chef who originally moved to France to be an au pair and, after falling in love with the country’s cuisine and attending Le Cordon Bleu, opened a supper club that seated only two diners in her Paris Kitchen. The rest, as they say, is history; she now has a new show on the Food Network featuring Swedish food (she called Sweden home after living in Paris).
Rachel Khoo’s brilliance in The Little Paris Kitchen is that the recipes are straightforward and relatively easy to execute, despite the fact that many classic French recipes are step-intensive and labored. Whether it’s the space constraints of having a tiny kitchen or just her no-fuss way of approaching food that led her to simplify, the result is a primer on French cooking that is accessible to any home cook.
As is always the case with our potluck, we always end up with a great spread at cookbook club. From a rich boeuf bourguignon to wobbly souffles, we ate like kings.
My policy with cookbook club is that kids and spouses are always welcome as long as they also participate by trying the food. Some members choose not to bring kids, as it frees them up to have wine and catch up with friends. I get that. It’s hard to enjoy the silkiness of a chocolate mousse with a kid reaching over your shoulder to dunk their spoon into your glass. I’ve been there. It’s not a happy place.
For those of you who don’t have a cookbook club in your social circle, I’d encourage you to start one! It’s a great way to make a foray into hosting your own dinner parties without having to commit to cooking all of the dishes from start to finish. All you have to do is coordinate by selecting a cookbook that’s easily accessible (i.e., no funky, hard-to-source ingredients or intimidating processes) and make sure that there’s enough of a variety between appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Before each meeting, I set out a spread of wines and other beverages, and I always do eco-friendly disposable cutlery and plates (for ease of cleanup and to give people the chance to start over with a fresh plate if they’re trying multiple dishes).
Are you ready to start your own Cookbook Club potluck but need more inspiration? Check out my previous Cookbook Club posts here:
- Chapter 1: The Really Quite Good British Cookbook
- Chapter 2: Persiana
- Chapter 3: Ceviche
- Chapter 4: Tartine
- Chapter 5: Tasting Georgia
- Chapter 6: Chicken and Rice
- Chapter 7: Made in India
- Chapter 8: Orange Blossom and Honey
- Chapter 9: Christmas and Other Winter Feasts
- Chapter 10: The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook