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Start your own cookbook club

Starting a cookbook is a wonderful way to improve your skills, try new recipes and share your love of cooking and baking with friends.

If you’re looking for a new and different opportunity to socialise, try this spin on a book club; today we’re sharing tips to get you started.

What it is

Starting a cookbook club is a great way to get together with friends and celebrate your love of food and drink. Most of us can relate to the experience of buying or receiving a beautiful cookbook, only to have it languish on the shelf; though the recipes mouth-watering and the pictures stunning, finding the time to crack in and try a new recipe can be easier said than done.

A cookbook club offers a way around that. Once a month you can get together with a group of likeminded home chefs to talk about the ins and outs of a different cookbook. Instead of the host providing the food, it’s a potluck; each person is responsible for bringing a dish they made chosen from the pages inside the cookbook. Once you’re all together, you can talk about the recipes – and most importantly, taste them – then share any adjustments you made and tips you found useful.

How to do it

1. Find a group of people to start your club with. It could be friends, neighbours, or co-workers. Cookbook clubs are also a great way to involve people who don’t like the idea of a regular book club; many people struggle to find time to read for pleasure, but we all – save perhaps her Majesty the Queen – are obliged to cook for ourselves and our families regularly.

2. Brainstorm about cookbooks or themes you’d like to use for your upcoming meetings. There are a few ways to approach this:

  • By theme: Choose a cuisine – like Italian or Thai for example – and let everyone choose their own recipe to make and present to the group.
  • By dish: Decide on a dish to cook each week, similar to the Great British Bake Off – so for example, breads, desserts, soups or starters. This is an easy way to make the cookbook club work if your group is apprehensive about spending money on new cookbooks each month.
  • By cookbook: Decide on one new cookbook each month. Each person chooses any dish they like from the cookbook to make and present to the group.

3. Decide how often you’d like to meet and who will host. Most book clubs rotate a different house each month, but sometimes it can be useful to meet at the same place each month if a member of the group is willing to open up their home.

Writing your own community cookbook

A cookbook club is also a great opportunity to share your treasured recipes with others and write your own cookbook. Ask each member to contribute a few favourite recipes to the collection and soon you’ll have an excellent resource.

When you have enough recipes together, organise, print and bind them into your own special cookbook – it’s a perfect keepsake and an excellent handmade gift for other friends and family members.

So tell us: do you like the idea of a cookbook club?

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