My cooking club meets tonight and I’m hosting (at the home of the professor I’m house-sitting for; she very generously told me to feel free to throw parties, etc., and I’m taking her up on the offer by having my cooking club enjoy our meal in her amazing garden).The club is brand-new but we’ve already evolved what I think is a good system.
How it works:
- We rotate hosts. Hosts pick the menu (with input) and procure the ingredients, and pay for them.
- Guests bring wine. Guests have offered to bring other things (side dishes, dessert), but I think it’s important that we don’t establish this norm: this is a weekly affair and we’re all busy people. The burden is not bad if it’s only once a month or so that you have to do anything besides show up with a bottle of wine.
- We clean as we go so there’s no mess left for the host.
- We cook something large and everyone takes leftovers that should last at least another meal.
So how did I decide what we’d make?
- Labor-intensive. No point in having the club make something I could easily throw together myself. This is a chance to make recipes that I’d look at and say, “Sounds delicious, but what a lot of work…”
- But not too time-intensive: this is a weeknight, after all. We need to cook, clean, consume, gossip and get out at a reasonable hour.
- And then there are our individual proclivities. Like my friend Anna hates pineapple. And I can’t have too many meals that are heavy starches.
All of which considerations led me to…
Pistachio-crusted chicken with herbs and mustard cream sauce. Oh yes. Except we’re using thighs, not breasts, and we’re doubling that shit (and making even more than doubled sauce so everyone has additional leftovers for pasta, veggies or whatever we eat on our own time). I can’t wait.