One of the first things I did when I moved was join a book club. I thought it would be a great way to read new books I never heard of and make friends in my new area. When I discovered a book club that combined all my loves- food, wine, and books – I was sold. There are two meetings held a month, but I usually go to one so that I have time to read books of my own choosing, too. Every meeting has a food theme based on the book. Every member brings one potluck dish and one bottle of wine. That’s right, a bottle of wine a person. All the leftover bottles are a gift for the host to keep, which I think is a neat idea.
This month we read Mysteries of Pittsburgh. This book was not for me. I immediately felt like there was a Great Gatsby element to it – a book I hated, sorry – and it just got further from my taste from there.
Apparently someone liked it enough to make a movie.
Still, the food at book club was amazing, and now I can say I read a book that was outside my normal literary taste. Book club this past week was a Sunday brunch and the theme was to bring a food that reminded you of your hometown. Immediately I knew that I wouldn’t be cooking for this one, but rather, buying bagels. When I lived away from the land of good bagels (namely DC – how can no one in DC make a decent bagel?!), all I craved was a good warm bagel with cream cheese. So bagels, I brought, along with some OJ for mimosas.
Clockwise: My bagels, homemade crepes, egg noodles with cabbage, french toast casserole.
Clockwise: Turkey roll-ups, Quiche, Bacon and Cheese Grits
Potato and Cheese Periogies
Rhode Island Pizza Strips
Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream Cake Cups
And I didn’t even got a photo of everything! What would you bring to represent your hometown?
I hosted Book Club last night and it was a big success. Here are some snap shots of our bite-sized cuisine.
Mini Grilled Cheeses
Mexican Polenta Cakes
Pudding and Fruit Cups
Raspberry Jam Tartlets
One of many bottles of wine.
Tonight I am hosting book club. It’s actually a book, wine, and supper club. We tend to focus on the book by reading it before the meeting and spend most of our time focusing on the wine and supper at the actual meeting. This is just fine with me.
I have prepared for my book club, by reading this excellent post on how to host a book club after work. I will be taking many of these steps, in addition to cleaning my apartment in a frenzy and closing my eyes and willing my apartment to grow in size to accommodate all my guests.
Every month we have a dinner theme that matches the book. Since this month we read The Art of Racing in the Rain (my choice and I really recommend it), and no one wanted to eat dog food besides Hadley, we went with bite-sized food as the theme. Everyone brings a dish that goes along with the theme and a bottle of wine. Sometimes people bring the book, too.
For tonight’s meeting, I am making mini-grilled cheese sandwiches. Basically, I am making three different versions of grilled cheese and then slicing the sandwiches in fours or more so that they are miniature. I didn’t want to just make plain grilled cheese (even though I love it, I think it’s fun to experiment with book club dishes), so I have been researching ways to mix up a classic. Here’s what I’m making:
Traditional Grilled Cheese: We all know how to do this one. Whole wheat bread, cheddar cheese, and a nice slice of tomato all grilled together to yummy perfection.
Green Apple Grilled Cheese: Cheddar and green apple? Good. Cheddar and green apple grilled together on whole wheat bread? Even better. I’ll be slicing green apples, layering them on top of the cheddar, then sprinkling with cinnamon and toasting it all up.
Stinky Grilled Cheese: Havarti cheese, slices of red onion, and garlic powder toasted to perfection. Guests may need to brush their teeth after this one.
How do you enjoy your grilled cheese?