How to Start a Cookbook Club — Welcome 2018-08-09T21:42:38+00:00

What is a Cookbook Club &
How Do I Start One?

Welcome to Your Home for All Things Cookbook Club.
It’s  like a gourmet potluck, but way better.

Keep it small + intimate or grow it into a huge family of food lovin’ friends. Learn everything you need to know about Cookbook Clubs right here.

And no matter what, have fun.

– ADVICE –
– SUPPLIES –
– IDEAS –

My Story

After 6 months of procrastination (the nervous nail-biting type), I went ahead and published my cookbook club online. My heart racing, I was freaking out and almost canceled it until—one-by-one—people started joining. Within hours, 50 members joined my group. I was shocked!

My life was about to change forever.

There was no turning back now. I was committed to these new members, these strangers. Strangers that I would soon call family.

Three years later, and I now have over 1,200 members (even though my event participation ranges from 6 to 60 people)!

I don’t know what it is, but I find that people who enjoy cooking, traveling, and eating tend to be such fascinating individuals. They always have the best stories, they’re open minded, and they cherish the small things in life. These are my people.

And now I want to help you find your people.

My initial vision for a blog was going to be solely focused on cookbook clubbing, but Catherina challenged me to think a little bigger—and I’m glad she did. But here, in this section of our site, I want to speak to those of you that love the idea of being part of a cookbook club. And if there isn’t one in your area, then maybe you want to start your own?

Learn how to start a cookbook club and—most importantly—how to make it yours.

Welcome to my Cookbook Club section of A Taste for Living. Here, I’m going to give you all the nitty gritty details on running a successful cookbook club. Where to start. Finding members. Making it flow. Having fun. And, ultimately, creating delicious memories for all.

May the content on this page empower you to take action—not hold back—and get the ball rolling. Start small and keep it small. Or grow it into a huge local community. It’s totally up to you.

Keep me posted, seriously.

Did you start your own cookbook club? Are you a member of one? Awesome! I want to know how it’s going. Tell me all about it. Share your experiences with me. How has it impacted your life? Don’t be shy. Message me via the contact form at the bottom of the page or join my free Facebook Group — just for fellow Cookbook Club organizers, like YOU.

In closing . . .

Cookbook clubs bring all sorts of people together. There’s a lot I appreciate about my experience with my Feast Family, but the one thing I love the most about it is the variety of people that participate. People from all different walks of life. Different ages. Different religions. Different political beliefs. All of the above.


Even with the group’s diversity,
we still have one thing in common . . . curiosity.


We share a curiosity for learning, trying new recipes, tasting new food, going out of our comfort zones, making mistakes, and meeting new people.

For a couple of hours each month, this eclectic gathering of individuals comes together to share a meal. They arrive as strangers and they leave as friends. They celebrate what that they have in common. They connect with their stories . . . and with their hearts.

Because Cookbook Clubs cultivate the most vibrant community of unique individuals, I believe they can heal the world. They join people together in a way that creates a true sense belonging. People feel heard. They feel seen. Their hearts are nourished and their spirits are uplifted. Cookbook Clubs can—and will—unite humanity.

They are that powerful.
We are that powerful.
You are that powerful.

Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Something so small in your little corner of the world can have such a huge impact on others—a ripple effect of love and light. Trust me, I’ve seen it, and I’ve lived it.

If you’re reading this now, it tells me that you’re hungry for something—and it’s not food. There’s something in you that’s craving connection and it believes sharing food with others is where it all begins. Guess what? You’re right. And I’m here to guide you, to inspire you, and to celebrate you.

Welcome, dear one. I’m honored you’re here.

—xo—

jessica
Continue to “What is a Cookbook Club”

Stay up to date with all things Cookbook Club.

Images from my first cookbook club event by Paul Lyden.

What is a Cookbook Club?

I like to describe it as a gourmet potluck. Essentially, a group of us meet every month. A different cookbook, blog, or author is featured. Folks find a copy of the book—online, local shop, or library—if they don’t own one. Sometimes I loan my copy out, to make it easier for others.

Each person picks a recipe to make and bring. (I mention various ways, below, to organize it all.) We come together for one seriously awesome buffet of foods.


It’s the perfect way to dive into a single cookbook and fully appreciate the variety of recipes it offers.


I don’t know about you, but I would often buy a cookbook, try two or three recipes, and then set it aside. I’d either get excited about a new book, or simply forget about it (out of sight, out of mind syndrome).

Cookbook clubs can be as big or as little as you want. Meet in your home or find local venues. You have a lot of options, and it can feel a little daunting. (Heck, even this page feels slightly overwhelming.)

My goal is to break it down in a way that will speak to you and inspire to start your own cookbook club. I’ve learned a lot these last couple of years of running my own cookbook club, and I’m more than happy to share all of my insights.

Something magical happens when friends—old and new—meet regularly to share their food, what they’ve learned, and what inspires them. Everyone gets a chance to speak, to listen, and to be heard. Everyone gets a chance to feel something that we all crave . . . belonging.

Do you want to create your own cookbook club?

You’re in the right spot. This page is the home for all things cookbook club related. I will continue to post articles to help you and share creative ideas to inspire you.

The email subscription form on this page is 100% devoted to cookbook club content. While A Taste for Living has a delicious buffet of content to enjoy, I also want to cultivate a community cookbook club leaders from all over the world.

Fellow organizers of cookbook clubs can learn a lot from one another. As of right now, there isn’t anyone bringing them together in a way that celebrates and empowers one another. That’s going to change now. 🙂

You don’t want to start a cookbook club . . .
but you want to be part of one.

If after doing a quick online search, you don’t find one in your area, consider sharing this page with that friend you know who’s obsessed with hosting. Or that other friend who has a huge library of cookbooks collecting dust.

Post this page to Facebook and see if there’s anyone who might want to start a cookbook club in your area. I’m bet there’s at least one person in your network of friends that is in search of a new project, but they haven’t figured out what it is. Perhaps you found the answer for them!

Continue to “How to Start”

5 Questions
to Ask Yourself

There’s a certain level of commitment to launching and organizing a successful cookbook club. It takes a certain type of person to step up and lead the way. So, before committing to running your own club, take a moment to pause and ask yourself the following questions.

  • What are your reasons for wanting to start a cookbook club?

  • Are you ok with tripling the amount of time you spend washing dishes?

  • How comfortable are you with meeting new people?

  • If you aren’t able to host in your home, are you able to find alternative location(s)?

  • Are you able to take action + follow through?

How to Start

What Size Cookbook Club Do You Want?

Everything You’ll Need to Consider Before Launching

How many people are you envisioning for your events? While you might have a few hundred members in your group, your cookbook club events will most likely allow for a certain number of participants.

Aim for a head count of 20-30 (or 6-9 for smaller gatherings). This amount ensures a good variety of recipes and is just enough food for folks to sample. More than 30 at an event can be overwhelming for some (unless you’re planning for an extra large event . . . I’ll be posting blogs on this soon). Plus everyone’s introductions, while they’re super enlightening, they can be time consuming.

Note: Starting out, you might not have 20-30 participants, and that’s totally ok. It will grow, I promise. At my first event I had 8 people show, and then it jumped 24 the following month.

Where are you going to host everyone? Is your home large enough to accommodate 20-30 guests, including parking? If so, then awesome. Kudos to you for opening your home and designing a welcoming space for all. If not, then continue reading.

Look for public venues within a certain radius of your home. Find places that have the space to fit everyone and everything: dining tables, chairs, and extra tables for your buffet of food.

Note: Don’t be surprised to learn that some spaces might charge a small fee. I’ve paid as little as $25 and as much as $125 for a venue. You can research this ahead of time before making any formal commitments.

Venue options may include your local library, school, historic house, church, temple, community center, local shop, hotel, country club, museum, or even a dance studio!

Having access to a microwave or stove/oven isn’t essential, but is important for the venue to have a sink, public bathroom, and electricity. Bring a heavy duty extension cord with you, just in case (another thing to add to the list of supplies below).

Basically, the more accommodating your venue(s) is, the easier it will be for everyone else . . . and the more likely you’ll get participants to show up. In other words, if the location is lacking accessibility and comfort, folks won’t want to come back.  

Get creative . . . think rooftop patio, art gallery, yoga studio, boutique retailer, local bed & breakfast, a boat, under the trees, in the sand, or whatever inspires you. It’s fun to surprise folks with a unique quirky venue. It makes for a more memorable event too.

    1. Shared Google Doc or Spreadsheet — Free

      This only works if everyone has a gmail account. Thankfully it’s free (and easy) for folks to create one. I suppose a spreadsheet would be the easiest way to track members, events, recipe postings, etc… Here’s a template you can us. Under File click “Make a Copy” to create a version that you can edit and share with others.

      I would enable members to VIEW the spreadsheet, but not edit it. To formally RSVP they must email you. Then it’s up to you to update the spreadsheet and add their recipe selections. You also will have to email folks when the RSVP list is full. Some members will ask if you have a waitlist too. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is.

      The spreadsheet approach works nicely if you have less than 50 members. More than that, you’re going to want to seek alternative options.


    2. Online invitation software like Minted.com, Evite, or PaperlessPosts.com — Free

      If someone wants to join your cookbook club, they provide you with their name and email. Then you create your digital event invitations and send them to your email list. Folks can RSVP and add a comment (with their recipe selection) on the event page.

      This approach isn’t too bad for larger groups. It would only work if you already have a community of contacts or a network of local foodie friends that want to join. Word of mouth is essentially how the group would grow.


    3. Facebook Group — Free

      Obviously, your members need to be on Facebook to make this approach work. The beauty of the group is that you can manage a larger number of members. It makes it easy for everyone to share it and add their friends.

      You can create Facebook events within the group that members can RSVP to. Then in the discussion section of the event page, everyone can post their recipe selection. Make sure the event settings enable guests to post on the event page.

      As your group grows, you will most likely spend time monitoring it. People might post promotional stuff to the group. If you don’t want that, you’ll have to log in and delete their posts.

      Creating a set of guidelines for the group will be helpful. The guidelines can explain how the group works and rules on posting to the group. Food52 does a nice job of this with their virtual cookbook club.

      All in all, this approach to starting and organizing your group can work nicely. But what if you’re new in town and don’t know a soul?


    4. Meetup.com — $15/monthWhether or not you know anyone in your community, Meetup is a lovely way to organize your cookbook club. It’s an easy way to streamline your organizational efforts, grow your group, promote your events, post images, and engage with members.The minute you create your Meetup group, they will announce your group through their website and app, in addition to sending an email to members who share an interest in food, cooking, dining, book clubs, etc…Meetup is a brilliant way to find your people. To find like-minded culinary lovin’ friends for your cookbook club. If you like meeting new people or if you don’t know anyone in your are, then I highly recommend you consider organizing your group via Meetup.I took this approach when starting my cookbook club 3 years ago. My goal was to expand my network of contacts in my local community and to meet new people. I waited a year before I announced the group to my friends.Meetup changed my life forever, and I honestly believe that this blog wouldn’t exist if I didn’t have my Feast Family. It’s because of them that I was inspired to write about running a cookbook club, and thensome.

I’m going to be straight with you . . . the last thing you want is too many cooks in the kitchen (pun intended). Having one person be the host or hostess (who’s in charge of organizing events) helps avoid confusion and creates for more consistency.

The host considers all the essentials — location, theme, featured cookbook, guest limit, beverages, decor, and dishware. Everyone else can help during set up and clean up. And the host is always be open to ideas and suggestions from fellow members!

Opening up the running of the group to multiple people can be risky. Not everyone will take the same approach to hosting and it can create confusion for members. They need a single point person to contact with any book recommendations or questions.

I don’t consider myself a control freak—at least not an extreme one—but believe the communal approach to leadership inhibits you from cultivating a tight knit cohesive group experience. No one’s going to care about the group’s growth and success as much you will. That alone is enough to convince me to run things on my own.

Is there a compromise?

Don’t want to organize the cookbook club by yourself, but want to avoid opening up the leadership to whoever? Then find a partner. Someone who shares the same level of excitement, and who isn’t afraid of the commitment.

Together you can plan out all the details, pick out books, reach out to venues, post events, and manage the group. You can even take turns hosting, if you’re schedules are super packed. But definitely host a few together in the beginning so you can get a feel for how things will run, refine any processes, and get on the same page. This way you can create a consistent group experience that enables members to get into the rhythm of thing, and it helps them to know what to expect.

This one is totally up to you. My only piece of advice is to be consistent with it. Every other month. Monthly. Twice a month. Whatever you have time and energy for. Once a month is a nice way to start. And when you feel ready, sprinkle in a bonus event every now and again. But the most important thing is having consistency with your events. It enables a rhythm of scheduling that everyone can adapt to, and look forward to.

With the variety of schedules amongst your members, it’s impossible to find a day and time that works for all. Since you’re in charge, I say pick whatever day is best for you.

For example, I opted to host my monthly feasts on the first Sunday of every month (unless there was a Monday holiday, then I schedule it for the following Sunday).

My events typically start at 2:00 PM. This gives folks enough time to prepare their dishes and travel to the venue. Everyone tends to skip lunch in order to save their appetites for the feast. Ending our events around 4:30/5:00 PM gives guest enough time to travel home and enjoy a quiet event before they start their week.

When I add bonus events to the schedule, I’ll experiment with different days and times to allow other members—especially those that can’t do Sundays—to participate in the delicious festivities.

This is the part of the fun! Start with your own personal collection or jump onto Amazon and check out the best selling cookbooks.

Sometimes I’ll visit a local bookstore and wander over to the cookbook section. Being able to flip through a book before featuring it. You can check the reviews online too, just to be safe.

Bear in mind that members while be delighted to participate in your cookbook club, but they refuse to add to their collection of books at home. More than half of my members get a copy of the book at the local library. Knowing that, I try to carefully select cookbooks that can easily be found at the library.

An alternative is to feature a particular author. This allows participants to pick a recipe from any cookbook by the featured author. It’s makes it fun for all and adds to the variety of dishes. Make sure members include which book they’re picking the recipe from when they post it.

Instead of a specific cookbook, you can also spotlight a blog!

I’ve done all of these and have developed a nice rotation throughout the year. Oh, and speaking of rotation, if you a percentage of your members are vegetarians, you’ll want to to feature a vegetarian (or vegan) cookbook every couple of months. There’s a lot of great options out there.

The smaller details, but hugely important.

  1. Beverages — As the host of these cookbook club events, you’ll want to think about whether or not you want to provide drinks like coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. (Some venues allow you to bring wine too.) You’ll have to figure out how you’re going to make it and serve it. It’s perfectly fine to offer just water. Either way, these are details worth considering.

  2. Dishware — If this is going to be a long term endeavor for you (which I hope it is), please consider investing in reusable plates and cutlery. Nothing too expensive, but make sure it’s definitely dishwasher safe.

    I ended up getting light-weight tempered glass dinner plates, dessert plates, and bowls from Ikea (less than $1 each). Three years in and I’m still using all them! For cutlery I invested a few extra dollars at a local Walmart (or two) because I wanted a certain design.

    Check out thrift shops to get the most bang for your buck. Plus it can be fun to mix and match the dishware for your table setting.

    For cups you can use mason jars. The cheapest and best option for drinking glasses.

    If you prefer to purchase disposable plates, cups, cutlery, and napkins, I encourage you to get brands that are biodegradable or compost-safe.

    The goal is to accumulate as little trash as possible.

    Want to go above and beyond? Bring a canister to take home food scraps for your compost bin. If you don’t personally compost at home, maybe another member does?


  3. Tablecloths + Napkins — Just as I encourage with the dishware and cutlery, invest in machine-washable napkins. Or lightweight tea towels are nice (I scored at Ikea with their 75 cent tea towels). Otherwise, these biodegradable (compostable) napkins come highly recommended.

    With the tablecloths, I encourage you to have fun with. Stock up on some colorful ones that will make for the most delightful backdrop to your photos. An no, they don’t all have to match. In fact, I encourage you to mix and match them all. It creates a more homespun feel that others feel comfortable in.


  4. Labels for Dishes + Name Tags — Doesn’t have to be super fancy, but they are super helpful for a larger group. Sticky notes or index cards work nicely. For name tags, you can use a package of white mailing labels and a sharpie. Easy peasy.

  5. Photography — There’s no better way to document your experience than by snapping some pictures. It gets members excited and inspires more people to join the group. Get closeups of the dishes and overview shots of the table settings and buffet. I love getting pictures of people happily serving themselves at the buffet.

    If you can swing it, commission a local photographer to come and capture the event. It will be good for you to be in front of the lens, every now and again. Be the warm welcoming face of the group. Nothing is more inviting than that.


  6. Containers for Leftovers — Encourage participants to bring in a container or two for leftovers. You’re guaranteed to have the best lunch the next day.

What actually happens at your events? The flow?

Events generally last for about 2-3 hours (not counting the time it takes to set up). The more seasoned members come in 15 minutes early to prep their dishes. By 2:30 the buffet is ready for a couple of quick shots, and then everyone lines up to fill their plates.

I encourage folks to start eating as soon as they sit down. That way they can enjoy whichever dishes are meant to be served warm.

Once everyone sits, I stand up to welcome everyone and introduce any new members. I take a moment to express my gratitude to for everyone that took the time and money to prepare all the wonderful food. Any announcements the need to get made, I make them. Then I wrap things up with explaining next steps.

Each person is invited to briefly introduce themselves and share where they’re from. They state which recipe(s) they brought, why they picked it, and what their feelings were about it. How was the process of making the dish? Any disappointments or surprises. Did they learn anything? What changes would they make? Would they make it again?

  1. No need to double the recipes. There will be more than enough food to share.

  2. Encourage folks to follow instructions exactly (this can be really hard for some people, like me.)

  3. Having the dinner tables put together is a beautiful way to say, “Welcome” to your guests. If I’m ever running short on time, I’ll hold off on setting up all the chairs. When folks get there, they’re always eager to help. So I let them bring out the chairs and set them up. It’s a win-win.

  4. If you have a couple events planned out ahead of time, remember to bring a copy of the featured cookbooks with you at your earlier events. Folks can get a sneak peek of the recipes and pick one. They usually snap a picture with their phones. Is saves them the hassle of tracking down a copy of the book, while getting them excited at the same time.

  5. Have a plan in place for transporting and storing all of your supplies. It’s helpful to keep everything separate from your home kitchen equipment. Sturdy bins will make it easy for carrying everything to the car. If you can, have an extra one for collecting dirty dishes in. And the minute you get home, fill that sucker with the hottest soapiest water. Let it soak overnight before cleaning.

  6. If you wind up hosting your events at the same location, see if there’s a way for you to store supplies there! It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Continue to “Cookbook Club Toolkit”

Stay up to date with all things Cookbook Club.

Cookbook Club Tool Kit

Welcome to A Taste for Living where we prefer to focus on who’s around the table vs. what’s on the table. While we love an awesome recipe—like any other home cook—we’re craving something far more delicious and meaningful.

TABLECLOTHS

The foundation for a classic table setting. Formal or rustic, the tablecloth is an essential component to creating a magical dining experience. And it’s ok that there are some wrinkles in it. It will still get the job done. If possible, get some tablecloths for the buffet of food — they make a nice backdrop for photographs.

CLOTH NAPKINS

How it is that such a small detail can elevate the dining experience. Aside for the environmental practicality of cloth napkins, they also give you the chance to play with fun colors to jazz up your table scape. Oh, and don’t worry about ironing them. The more weathered and wrinkled the better . . . you can tell they’re more love that way.

CANDLES

If you’re venue allows for it, you must include small candles to sparkle up the center of the table. More than ambiance, food (and people) looks so beautiful when adorned by warm candlelight. Even if it’s the middle of the day with bright sunlight . . . candles are essential. It’s a wonderful way to show that you care.

VASES

Whether it’s for fresh cut flowers or tea light candles, simple clean glass vases make a wonderful addition to your decor. Keep the size and height the same, or vary it up, whatever lights you up.

MASON JARS

The most affordable and durable drinking glasses on the market. And they make a great quick flower vase or tea light holder (long stemmed lighter or matches recommended). Buy a box of 12 and keep the box for easy storage and transporting.

PLATES & BOWLS

As I mentioned above, if running a cookbook club long term is part of your plan, then definitely invest in reusable dinner plates, dessert plates, and soup bowls. The tempered glass ones I got at Ikea were super cheap, and super strong. They’ve lasted me nearly 3 years without any damage (knock on wood). Plus they’re not bulky or too heavy. And the best part? They’re dishwasher safe.

CUTLERY

Same as the previous entry. Invest in reusable utensils to minimize costs and waste. Have a little fun with these and get colorful sets or mix and match your utensils. Either way, it’s fun to add an element of surprise to each place setting.

WATER PITCHERS

No, these don’t have to be glass. You’re definitely going to be using these on the regular, so the more heavy duty the better. And think of these as centerpieces to your tables (1-2 per table of 6), and purchase pitcher with a pop of color or engraved designs on it. When the light shines through it, it can be lovely to look at.

COFFEE CUPS

These are among the few disposable items I recommend. If possible, seek out coffee cups that are make with recycled paper and that are also compost safe.

SMALL SPOONS

Not essential, but nice to have! Sometimes members bring in a dish that includes a dip or a sauce. Or set aside a bunch at your coffee station for stirring.

SERVING UTENSILS

Spoons, large forks, tongs, ladles. You name it, you’ll need it. Try and collect 2-3 of each. It’s easy for participants to forget a serving spoon, so having some on hand will be most helpful. Trust me.

PORTABLE KNIFE

This wasn’t on my original list until last week when I hosted a dumpling party. One member brought this awesome knight that included it’s own sleeve for the blade. It was designed for portability. And I fell in love with it (that happens a lot with me and my adoration for inanimate objects). So, my friends, a portable knife has made the cut, and will forever reside on this list of cookbook club supplies.

CUTTING BOARD

If you can’t have a knife without a cutting board. Invest in a lightweight one that’s at least 8 x 10 in size. They come in handy when trying to stack things in a tote bag.

TABLES

The 6′ kind that fold up and include a handle. You can comfortably fit 3 people on each side, lengthwise, with one person on each end.

FOLDING CHAIRS

If your venue is lacking in the chair department, you’ll need to think about investing in some folding chairs. But that can be good news! Having a supply of portable folding chairs opens you up to hosting events at a wider variety of places—indoors or outdoors. Oh, and speaking of good news, they now make super strong and lightweight portable chairs. No more clunky metal ones.

WAGON

Use your kid’s radio flyer, I don’t care. Anything with wheels that can help you transport stuff from point A to point B is a game changer. Unless you’re craving a serious arm, shoulder, and back workout. You can find collapsible wagons too. They’re great for cookbook clubbing or for a trip to the beach.

STORAGE BINS

This is as the top of my supply list and is essential for storing (and transporting) all of your cookbook club accoutrement. If you’re in a pinch, laundry baskets work nicely. Either way, use bins that have a solid base and sides to them. You’ll want to use one for collecting dirty dishes, to then fill it up with soapy hot water when you get home. Make sure the bins have strong handles. I learned the hard way.

TOTE BAGS

One can never have enough of these. They hold soooo much stuff, regardless of how heavy it is.

SMALL COMPOSTING BIN

We’re entering into the age where more and more people are making every effort to reduce waste buildup. No, I don’t personally compost (worm phobia), but my neighbors sure do. Having a portable container for people to scrape their plates and toss their coffee cups into is a profoundly powerful thing to have. Is it super convenient? No. But it feels good to be doing it.

ELECTRIC TEA KETTLE

Dust off the one you had in college or invest in a new one. Just like the coffee maker, having a tea kettle for your guests to make tea (or hot cocoa) makes your event all the more complete.

WATER PITCHERS

No, these don’t have to be glass. You’re definitely going to be using these on the regular, so the more heavy duty the better. And think of these as centerpieces to your tables (1-2 per table of 6), and purchase pitcher with a pop of color or engraved designs on it. When the light shines through it, it can be lovely to look at.

COFFEE CUPS

These are among the few disposable items I recommend. If possible, seek out coffee cups that are make with recycled paper and that are also compost safe.

SMALL SPOONS

Not essential, but nice to have! Sometimes members bring in a dish that includes a dip or a sauce. Or set aside a bunch at your coffee station for stirring.

SERVING UTENSILS

Spoons, large forks, tongs, ladles. You name it, you’ll need it. Try and collect 2-3 of each. It’s easy for participants to forget a serving spoon, so having some on hand will be most helpful. Trust me.

PORTABLE KNIFE

This wasn’t on my original list until last week when I hosted a dumpling party. One member brought this awesome knight that included it’s own sleeve for the blade. It was designed for portability. And I fell in love with it (that happens a lot with me and my adoration for inanimate objects). So, my friends, a portable knife has made the cut, and will forever reside on this list of cookbook club supplies.

CUTTING BOARD

If you can’t have a knife without a cutting board. Invest in a lightweight one that’s at least 8 x 10 in size. They come in handy when trying to stack things in a tote bag.

Continue to “Ways to Make it Fun + Special”

Images from my first cookbook club event by Paul Lyden.

Ways to Make it
Special + Fun

—1—

Branding — Create a name for your group and design a logo for yourselves. Invite members to help you brainstorm or figure it out on your own. There are some great online resources for designing your own logos. Sites like Canva.com or Squarespace.com are great places to start.

—2—

Create photo gallery of the events. Use google photos or dropbox to create and share your images with the whole group. Just be cognisant of those that do not want their face in the pictures. Or if you snap a beautiful shot, show it to those that are in the picture and ask if they’re ok with you sharing it in the gallery

—3—

Vary the event locations. This can be fun as the weather changes throughout the year.

—4—

In your event postings, incorporate imagery of the cookbook cover and some of the interior recipe photos.

—5—

Plan different types of events like food swaps, excursions, workshops, or picnics.

—6—

Feature a local author and have them join you.

—7—

Candles. Candles. Candles.

—8—

If you can swing it, bring some fresh flowers! True story, a neighbor had a huge hydrangea bush that was so full the branches were drooping. I mustered up some courage, grabbed my scissors, and knocked on her door. Thankfully, she was more than happy to let me cut off a bunch of blossoms for my event!

Note :: Mason jars or the 28 oz San Marzano tomato cans make for great flower vases.

—9—

Design and print menus for everyone. Great for taking notes on and highlighting favorite dishes. Keep a steady supply of pens on hand for members to use.

—10—

Vote Top 5 dishes (3 savory + 2 sweet) — Take one of your printed menus and let folks mark their favorite dishes.

—11—

Tally up the votes and send the results entire group an email to recap the event. Include some photos and your comments on the cookbook. This is a wonderful way to make everyone feel included, even if they weren’t able to attend the event.

—12—

Include a question prompt to invigorate the introductions and enliven the group experience. Make it a little more personal. For example, if you’re featuring an international cookbook, let folks share a culinary travel story that they cherish.

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