Entertaining at our home is a part of our family routine. Every weekend our kids ask who’s coming for dinner, assuming that our table will be crammed with chairs and cluttered with wine glasses. I don’t mind. Growing up, some of my fondest memories were of my parents’ dinner parties, where the food was abundant and conversation was loud and joyful. In that same vein, the cookbook club our family hosts every few months here in London has become my absolute favorite dinner party. Click through to see more photos and learn about how you can start your own cookbook club wherever you are!
The basic premise of any cookbook club is simple: bring together like-minded folks who enjoy cooking and like to eat delicious meals with friends. It’s a surefire method of entertaining that guarantees low stress and high returns.
Sure, cooking for a crowd (or really cooking anything at all) can be intimidating. But here’s the thing about hosting a cookbook club: because everyone has “invested” some effort into making this collaborative meal, everyone is also extremely forgiving and open-minded. You can always chalk up mistakes or self-consciousness about the end results to unclear recipe writing. It’s fine — the cookbook author isn’t there to defend themselves, so you can easily through the book under the bus.
This past month our Cookbook Club gathered together to review Nik Sharma’s Season, the inaugural cookbook that stems from his gorgeous food blog, A Brown Table. A blend of influences from his South Indian heritage to the flavors of the American South, the recipes in Season are a great starting place for anyone looking to incorporate Indian spices into everyday cooking.
Our club members brought dishes that ran the gamut, from turkey mushroom hand pies with just-so flaky crusts to a punchy cucumber salad whose appearance masked its delightful cool, crunchy flavors. A Bombay frittata played host to a warm mashup of Indian spices, and many of us commented how this dish would be a perfect weekend lunch — one you could make at your convenience and serve when ready, whether hot or at room temperature.
I especially loved making the Goan pork sausage, an especially zesty combination of spices woven through marbled ground pork. From an entertaining perspective, hosting Cookbook Club meetings is also an excellent excuse for pausing to take a break with friends and catch up.
Other successful recipes from Season centered around the side dishes. Our cookbook club members marveled at brilliant roasted sweet potatoes punctuated with an addictively creamy basil yogurt sauce, a hearty cauliflower and lentil salad and some young carrots roasted tender with bits of seaweed and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
But the feast didn’t end there. Entertaining when everyone is there to showcase their fine work has the added perk of actually getting to eat said fine work. We shared thick slices of rum-soaked raisin caramel cake, a sinfully moist elderflower and perfect-for-fall hunks of apple masala chai cake.
So, what are you waiting for? Entertaining can’t possibly be more fun or easier with a cookbook club. For more information on how to start one, click here.
See our other previous Cookbook Club meetings!
- 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
- Chapter 11: The Little Paris Kitchen