As more folk have started showing interest in the Cook Book Club, they've also been asking me to put up a list of rules that one must adhere to, when organizing/attending one. So I put my head to it. And came up with some rules. Not because I insist this happens a certain way. But so that people who're starting afresh in their own city or are attending an existing club lunch or dinner for the first time don't feel too anxious.
Starting the Club
Find people who like to cook, who’d like to cook out of a book and who’d like to meet with other people who like to do the same.
Picking a Book and a Date
Figure a cookbook you’d like to cook from - it could be a specific cuisine, an author you love, a region you’ve just travelled to, just a whole bunch of different bread... anything.
Share photocopies of the book (selected pages, the whole thing, whatever works), or an ePub or a pdf with everyone who plans to attend. Best case, buy yourself a copy of the book.
Create a WhatsApp group to coordinate all further updates. Everyone picks a recipe (or two, if you’re really enthusiastic about this) and lets the others know. That way you have a variety of dishes from the same book (and no repeats).
Pick a date/time and a place to meet at. If you know a cafe that might be happy to host your group, get in touch with them and get organizing! You can meet there too, instead of meeting at someone’s home.
One of the members of the group could offer to host, provided the group is not too large. The host will have to ensure that there is enough crockery, cutlery and water for everyone. Disposable ware works just fine. It’d be a little disappointing to have to run around last minute for stuff like that.
Cook in your kitchen. Cook with a friend who is attending, if cooking together is your thing! If you don’t have an oven and someone else does, you could cook with them. If you’re someone who loves cooking but can't cook at home for whatever reason, ask if someone from the group would be happy to share their cooking space with you. There ARE no rules around this bit, really!
Cook and show up! That's all we really care about! Of course, if you're travelling on work, have an important wedding in the family, are ill etc. and can't make it, let any of us know. We're quite understanding, like that!
Eat, Rinse, Repeat
Show up at the decided place, date and time.
Bring your own booze. Or let the host serve you some. That's up to him/her/you. You can be a teetotaler, for what it's worth!
Take pictures. Post to social media if you want to.
Discuss the recipes, what went wrong, what could’ve been done differently, whether the recipes are something you’d like to make again with other friends perhaps, your favourite TV show, that idiot on Twitter, why you loved the last book you read… Eat. Talk. Drink. Have a good time!
And hopefully, pick another book to cook out of and meet again!
Attend. Don't mooch off free books and content that is being shared with you. That's just plain shitty.
The only thing I actually insisted on these past few months that I've organized cookbook clubs (Pune, India and Hyderabad, India) is that only people who cook a dish from the book that has been selected are allowed to attend. Of course, you can run it in any fashion you please.