Tuesday, May 22, 2012

this is how we roll. cookbook club.

My cookbook club meets every other month, usually 12-15 of us from a mailing list of about 20. All women. Husbands and partners are not invited, although occasionally one will amble through the dining room or kitchen, collecting themselves a plate along the way. Often there are children, babies, and dogs. But it's really just us, carving out a day of cooking and then an afternoon of eating with a group of friends at the end of a busy week. In a life that is crammed with other things - work, family, the cares and worries that wake you in the middle of the night - you have to take some time that's just for being around other people who make you happy.

It's an organized group. There's the email list and a Google spreadsheet for dishes. Membership is limited, due to space issues. ("Do we talk about Cookbook Club?" "It's not FIGHT CLUB, people!"). We decide on a cookbook together; someone offers up their home for the gathering. At each meeting we talk about what we made, how the cookbook worked for us or didn't, and what we'll do next time. Everyone can cook, except for the few who don't cook and therefore bring the good wine or interesting cocktails. These are women who have *chops,* who aren't interested in making things complicated, only things that taste good. We know if a recipe is or isn't going to work, and how to tweak it so it suits our tastes. There is no molecular gastronomy here. There is, inevitably, too much food. This is how we roll.

Most of us are roughly the same age, in our thirties, with a few outliers. ("I'm old enough to be your mother." "BARELY. Maybe if you'd been a COMPLETE SLUT in high school"). Some of us are closer friends than others, and hang out more frequently. Others I only see every few months, and this gives us a chance to catch up. What keeps the club going is our love of food, of course, but also our love of being together. We talk about our childhoods, the play we saw last week, the dream I had about Martine and I being in Rome, our love for British television. We make time for this. It isn't just about the food.

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