When I lived in Bombay, my friends and I regularly organised potluck dinners - usually hosted by my friend Prarthna, who incidentally now runs a potluck-themed community event with our friends Bhavana and Neysa.
But I had never been to a potluck in Pune until Sahil, one of my dearest friends invited Divya and I to the latest edition of the Cookbook Club, a potluck where each guest brings a dish cooked from that month’s chosen cookbook.
Last month’s cookbook was Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles - classical French recipes from his restaurant.
There were 12 of us, the perfect number for ensuring a food coma apparently.
It started off tamely. I made a mushroom soup, which despite having no cream, was quite luscious. (The secret is in sweating the mushrooms and then simmering it for an hour before pureeing it.)
It then proceeded into a glorious carnivorous feast, as you can see from the menu above - even Sahil’s salad had bacon. The menu included traditional French favourites from coq au vin (chicken simmered with wine) to daube provençal (beef stew from Provence).
All the sauces were terrific with plenty of bite, and were bold, complex and nuanced - a bonus afforded only by slow cooking and in many cases, the addition of alcohol. Thank god for potatoes (of which we had many kinds) which were perfect for this gluten intolerant nerd to mop them up.
The desserts were incredible. Special shoutout to Husein whose mousse was super decadent with a nice little jolt of Black Label and so airy, each bubble was clearly visible.
It wasn’t planned that way but we held it on a Sunday just a day before Bourdain’s birthday. (There are no coincidences. RIP angel.) Check out our spread below.
Thank you to Meha for starting this! And to Sahil and Divya for a couple of extra photos.