Updated: May 13, 2019
Ravi brought up an interesting issue, if I may call it that... whether serving food at our monthly cookbook club meets is better course-wise, or buffet style.
It's the host who usually takes the lead on selecting the style and members follow. While both have their pros and cons, Ravi prefers his meals served course-wise. He says, "Khaana comes garam garam course-wise while members sip on cocktails. It feels less rushed and more relaxed. Obviously, it means less commotion in the kitchen as members give final touches to their dishes , one member at a time."
Individual plates get photographed by default, though he feels that the only con here is that a picture of all the dishes together might not be possible.
In a buffet-style meal, the meal gets over relatively quickly, leaving time for members to chitchat post meal over coffee tea or desserts. "Meals tend to get cold by the time everyone touches up their dishes.Also, there's commotion in kitchen as everyone tries to plate their dishes all at one time," says Ravi who has hosted a fair number of potlucks so far.
Amita thinks that a course or buffet-style can only depend on the menu. The Nigella Lawson book, Summer, for instance, had salads which paired well with the mains. So, a buffet style might have worked. The most memorable course-wise meals were The Saffron Tales hosted by Sheena Dabholkar, Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless at Lavanya's home, Lemongrass, Ginger and Mint and Downtime. For buffet-style, Pune folk fondly remembered The East Indian Kitchen (hosted at Ravi's) and Samin Nosrat's Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat which Ambica hosted.
Then, there are books like Chrissy Teigen's Cravings when meals are served buffet-style, but we eat course-wise. Trust us Indians to come up with jugaad ways. Maybe we should take a group-selfie now, groupfie they're called, you say?