A year ago this month, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. The impending treatment protocol looked rigorous. I felt tired and overwhelmed. I considered canceling our monthly dinner parties. Yes. You read that correctly. For the past 5 months, previous to my diagnosis, we had started throwing elaborate dinner parties for our friends. You see, we had just moved onto our new home, which was equipped with my dream kitchen, adjacent to a large dining room and surrounded by plenty of barstools.
I started formulating menus, experimenting with new ingredients and making use of the bountiful PNW produce. My new diagnosis, forced me to eat a more restrictive diet. How could I maintain both a tasty and rigorous entertaining schedule? Then a friend of mine introduced me to a new concept. The Cookbook Club.
The Cookbook Club was exactly what I needed. It allowed me to continue my cooking and entertaining, but on a scaled down level. Being able to choose the cookbook and recipes meant that I had the ability to tailor fit the menu to my dietary needs. And since everyone would be participating, the task of throwing a dinner party seemed less daunting!
Each month I would pick a new cookbook for the dinner party, create an event on Facebook, explain the process and update the menu with each guest’s selection. Many of the recipes are available on Pinterest, so I would just create a link with my preselected recipes from that month’s chosen cookbook, so folks do not have to purchase the book! Within a week of the dinner party, everyone starts to make their selection on a chosen item to cook. The menu ends up developing beautifully.
It’s so much better than a potluck, because the host selects the cookbook and can still have some creativity in the menu. And there are so many great cookbooks available! Every month offered a new opportunity to learn about a new cooking technique, or try out a new ingredient! I ended up using cookbooks from my favorite food bloggers and from Pinterest. Plenty, More Plenty, Smitten Kitchen, My New Roots, are some great cookbooks to consider for your own Cookbook Club!
These dinner parties were a hit! Most of our friends are cooks and/or foodies, so they welcomed the opportunity to try something new! We ended up with 15-25 people at each dinner. Phew! This calculated out to ~7-12 different dishes! What a feast these parties create! I created a large buffet styled area in the kitchen, with small plates to encourage mingling and casual nibbling.
Logistically, most people made their dish at home, so we just had to warm it up. A few people utilized my kitchen to make their entree. So may chefs in the kitchen, it was buzzing!
We hosted a Cookbook Club dinner party every month for 3 months. When the warmer months arrived, we decided to try it for brunch, complete with espresso, mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. YUM!
Thinking of throwing your own Cookbook Club? What ideas do you have? Let me know how it goes:)
Many thanks to MoscaStudio for the gorgeous photography!