San Diego Cookbook Club: Plenty

It all started when I read an article on Serious Eats by Tara Weaver. She extolled the virtues of starting a cookbook club instead of throwing elaborate dinner parties all on your own.  A new way to entertain she claimed. She included very detailed instructions on how her group operated as well. I do love a good road map!

Some backstory: I’m an avid cookbook collector. I love my books and try to cook out of them when I have time. I fail miserably though, like most people do, at actually using my books as often as I would like. I also love to throw dinner parties. And just like you and everyone with grand ideas of the perfect get together, I either kill myself slaving in the kitchen &/or I spend too much money on it.  Oh, and the clean-up? No. There has to be a better way!

I finished that long article  by Ms Weaver and immediately invited some friends to join me in a private Facebook Group. It was that fast. I just have to share what a special thing this is.  If you can start a group of your own, I highly recommend it!

If you don’t feel like reading the long article above, here is the basic idea:

  1. Pick a single cookbook
  2. Everyone picks a recipe to cook and share
  3. Meeting location can rotate among various participants’ residences.
  4. If you are too busy to cook, bring lots of quality Prosecco, paper plates, and utensils instead.

There is a bit of coordinating and voting chit chat for each meeting so we stick to emails and Facebook Groups for organizations sake. I know not everyone uses FB, but really, I haven’t figured out a better way to organize our information. And really, NOBODY wants a group text or email chain with 40 people on it. (That gave me anxiety just to type it!)


For January 2017 we chose Yotam Ottalenghi’s book PLENTY. YUM.  There were a few ingredients people had trouble sourcing here in San Diego. A few substitutions made.  And we learned that although the general idea of the cookbook club is to NOT double recipes, some of the salads in this book did indeed need to be doubled or even tripled. Still, it was an amazing day. Tasting many recipes from one book at once gave us a real sense of what this book had to offer. Definitely a fun way to experience what a chef has to offer.


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