Go, book club. Food Club is here and better.
Just kidding, mostly. Reading feeds our souls, but so do our friends. Make 2023 the year of the dinner club among your friends. Each “meeting” has a theme and takes turns hosting. A group of my friends have been talking about launching something like that for years, and 2023 will be, if the heated New Year’s debate is any indication.
The problem is that food clubs have so many possibilities. If you also like the idea of creating regular rituals among friends at the table, here are some possibilities that I and/or my friends are pondering. May you find plenty of inspiration for your own food club!
But first, here are some general pointers. You don’t need to convene a full-fledged planning session here, but again, group texts can be a little confusing. But you do you.
The first decision is probably how often to meet. Being too ambitious can burn you out quickly when people get overwhelmed. Too infrequently and it can fail before it even starts. We’re still debating the six-week schedule for Give or Take, but of course, your schedule will dictate that.
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Once you have these details in place, go ahead and get those dates on your calendar for the year. Therefore, please prioritize dates.
So what’s the hosting style? Do one household get their turn and host and run it all? Do you want to serve courses, drinks or side items? It’s entirely up to you!
Be sure to consider your friend’s dietary restrictions. This may require a Venn diagram, but I’ve created a dinner that both Paleo-adherents and vegans can enjoy on the table, so I promise you can do it!
Now for the fun part. What is the theme of this year’s Food Club?Here are six suggestions below.
How to plan a food club around a specific cookbook
This is the angle my group is tilted at. You can go in several directions with this. Either everyone agrees on one cookbook for her, or he chooses one for each household. The idea is that it’s a book you really want to dig into.Each dinner includes a menu from that book. This is a great way to explore new dishes and new techniques, and you may even find a new favorite dish.
It can honestly help you transform the glossy new cookbook you’ve been wanting from beautiful pictures on the page to beautiful food on the plate. Find beautifully curated books at The Breeze Wine Bar & Bottle Shop at 1001 Logan Street in the Street Market. Or, think more locally and pick a book by a Kentucky author (“Victuals: An Appalachian Journey” by Ronni Lundy, ex-Food writer for the Courier Journal is a good place to start!).
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Plan and travel food clubs around international cuisine
This is the closest thing to my wanderlust mind. Travel the world with a different national or regional cuisine for each dinner.
If you haven’t spent the time preparing the labor-intensive Indian curries or Yucatan moles you’ve been dreaming about, or if you want to go all out for a Nordic feast, now’s your chance. Use this as a chance to explore international markets and get bonus points. And you can make it a true culture dive by creating a playlist of local music and sourcing drinks to match. A nerd like me will want to style the dining room with accents that match the night’s theme.
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Use Louisville restaurant recipes in the Food Club
Want to bring home the food from your favorite local restaurant? My on-and-off series showing how chefs prepare their beloved local favorites in their home kitchens could be a starting point (I’m looking at Dallas McGarity’s gnocchi), but we’re all I have my own favourites. If you’re a regular at the restaurant and you think the chef can share some pointers on your go-to dish, just ask!
My dream is to make lamb off Brian Morgan’s first menu at Eiderdown, but the sky is seriously the limit. Please send!)
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Use ingredients from your favorite Louisville shop or farmer’s market
Why not pick your favorite purveyor and create a menu around that offering? Maybe it’s your favorite farmer’s market. Or, Rossa Pasta (3717 Lexington Road), one of Paul’s Fruit Markets, or a complete set made from goodies from Red Hog Restaurant and Butcher Shop (2622 Frankfort Ave.) and Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe (2868 Frankfort Ave.) It’s a meal.
Plan a food club around a specific wine, bourbon, or non-alcoholic pairing
One of the most enjoyable food and drink experiences I’ve had is pairing wine with comfort food based on Louisville native Vanessa Price’s book Big Macs and Burgundies: Wine Pairings for the Real World. was.
Nouvelle Bar & Bottle, 214 S. Clay St. hosted a great pairing event with Price last winter, but it’s easy to do at home. Bring her book Old Town Liquor, 1529 Head to Bardstown Road or your favorite wine shop and design the ultimate comfort food and wine pairing night. Or pair your bourbon with suggestions from “Which fork should I use with my bourbon?” Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigleror asked The Breeze staff for her non-alcoholic drink suggestions.
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Food Club Classics: Dinner and a Movie
How do you like the classics? Bring your favorite movie dishes to life with our movie-inspired menus. Do you like the Stanley Tucci movie The Big Night, too?
Feeling French? Go straight to the Queen herself and cook from ‘Julie & Julia’ or her recent HBO series ‘Julia’.
Hey, if you want to make that cheeseburger from Searchlight’s “The Menu” (no killer desserts!), invite me.
Tell Dana!Send your restaurant “Dish” to Dana McMahan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @bourbonbarbarella on Instagram.