A monthly recipe club is the book club replacement
A Monthly Recipe Club Is The Book Club Replacement I Was Waiting For
Being in my late twenties means that most group hangouts with my closest four friends are coordinated weeks or months in advance with the help of emails or, when things get really dire, Doodles.
After a half-baked attempt at a book club, and many highly enjoyable and delicious potlucks, we figured out the perfect way to guarantee we'd see each other more often: A monthly recipe club.
The key to our success is the simplicity of the rules.
Basically, it operates like a book club; we decide on a key ingredient each month, and everyone brings a small dish to fit the theme. We switch off hosting every time, and try to plan it so that it's a weekend brunch, and voilà! A recipe club is born. The first month, the ingredient was ricotta cheese (another idea of Maura's), which was, quite frankly, perfect, thanks to ricotta's ability to be either sweet or savory.
Among the five of us, we made a salad, a cannoli dip, a savory garlicky dip, cheesy scrambled eggs, blintzes, and a raspberry ricotta cake. We were mindful of having a good balance of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts, and I brought some extra Lactaid pills, just for good measure.
I think of it as our own personal Great British Bake Off: We all support each other, try to make something yummy, and at the end of it all, we're all stars.
We've implemented some measures to ensure that we will, in fact, make it happen again the next month, too.
We don't have a designated recipe club secretary because we're all the kind of people who live for follow-up emails and putting a date on the calendar. But we spend the last few minutes of our meetup picking a day for the next one. Sure, we could figure it out over email, but doing it in person — and all of us putting the date in our calendars at the same time — makes it all much more ironclad and official.
But the rules are also flexible, which is crucial for continued success.
The food is all fun and good, but as you probably guessed, it's the ~quality time~ that we spend together that really makes it special.
Most times, we end up just hanging out at someone's apartment for hours after all of the eating and cleaning up is done, because we've already mentally reserved most or all of the day for each other. Doing that was never part of the expectation (and if someone needs to leave early, we don't, like, blockade the door), but it reveals our true reason for doing all of this: Intentionally making time and space in our lives for relationships we spent so many years cultivating.
A recipe club, rather than a book club or something like that, works great for us. None of us are master chefs, but pouring our hearts into making something delicious happens to be all of our love languages. Even when one of us is having a rough week or month and can only muster the energy to bring a container of pre-cut berries, we accept it for what it symbolizes — a commitment to showing up for each other. And that, to me, is pretty darn sweet.