Can’t cook? Won’t cook? Join the club! But I’ve come to understand that as long as you follow the recipe ( and don’t go off piste in the false belief that you’ve uncovered your inner Jamie or Nigella) , cooking something that other people view as edible can become a reality.
Why not share the cooking load with friends?
Below are some ideas to help you set up –
* A women’s ( men’s) supper club * A food-from-around-the-world supper club * A progressive supper club
How to start a women’s (or men’s) supper club
Invite friends to join the supper club.
Choose 1 day a month on which to have it.
Draw up a timetable so that everyone gets to host.
The host chooses and prepares the main dish and all other members make food to accompany it ( could include side dishes as well as starters, desserts, cheeses and wine depending on the numbers in your group).
Make it as simple or complicated as you like and just enjoy spending time with friends.
How to start a Food-from-around-the-World Supper Club
Ideal for 3 friends, couples or groups.
Invite 2 other friends, couples or groups to join the supper club.
Set dates (ideally once a month) for the suppers.
Choose an international cuisine for the first supper.
Select a main dish to prepare from the cuisine of the country chosen and get one friend(couple or group) to prepare a starter and the other friend (couple or group) to prepare a dessert to match.
The first supper club will be at your home as you will have prepared the main course.
Choose the host for the next supper who then selects a different international cuisine. Make sure that no one does the same course twice in a row.
Play music from the country you have chosen.
Find out 3 interesting facts about it to share.
Wear national dress…
Learn a few phrases in the language.
How to start a Progressive Supper
At a Progressive Supper, each course is served at a different home, so the party ‘progresses’ from one place to another during the course of the evening.
The positives are many – you get to know your neighbours better, you only have to prepare one course, and everywhere is within easy walking distance.
However, the organisation of a Progressive Supper is not for the faint-hearted. But if you’re up for it, here goes!
Invite as many people as you can cope with who live within a specified area (ideally no one should live more than 10 minutes walk from each other) to join the supper group. Friends, friends of friends, people new to the area, anyone keen to come! The idea is that they may not be friends now but they soon will be. It is advisable to start small then build up your numbers.
All essential member information (names, addresses, contact details, food preferences and allergies) must be submitted to a designated organiser.
Choose 4 dates over the year (1 per season) – no need to consult on these.
Now for the tricky puzzle part.
Collect a list of members’ availability for the first date.
One third of members will prepare the starters.
One third will prepare the main course.
One third will prepare dessert.
Decide on times for the evening – start times for each course are essential as are end times. Factor in 10 minutes walking time between each course.
Then you must match and mix them all up paying careful attention to food preferences and allergies. Some people prefer to do this with names and courses written on slips of paper, others go for a more technical solution.
At least one week before the supper date each member will be given details of the one course they must prepare.
Those preparing the starter will stay put but those preparing the main and dessert courses will need to be given the first address they must attend for their starter.
At the end of the starter the host will distribute the address details for the next course and the supper group members will then go on to their next supper venue. Hosts must therefore have been supplied with separate information slips for themselves and their guests. Many groups like to provide not-to-be-opened-before-the-end-of-the-course slips with this information to add to the excitement of the evening.
Supper members will then walk to their next venue – some rushing home to make sure their main course hasn’t dried out – where they will share food with a completely different set of people. At the end of this course diners are then given slips with the address details for dessert.
At the end of dessert some progressive supper groups like to gather together all its members for coffee in usually the organisers’/organiser’s home.
* Once set up change the organiser every time. As you can see there is a lot to do and the organisation of a progressive supper takes a lot of time and concentration!
* Be organised. Keep an up-to-date file with key information – eg. who is a member, who is available for the next supper date, who did which course when so that members don’t always end up doing the same course.
* Adapt the Progressive Supper model so that it suits your needs. It could be for your street, neighbourhood, village. You decide.
The following links are an interesting aside. They show that some supper clubs are there to make money, some to make friends, some to get existing friends together…