Supper Clubs Made Simple


Last week we talked about dining out and splitting the check, but what about that alternative–staying in? If you’ve got a group of like-minded individuals and want to get more bang for your entertainment buck, a supper club scenario may be just the thing!

At it’s heart, a supper club is like a book club only your sharing food instead of literary opinions–okay, you can certainly do both (after all, you’ve got to have something to talk about between bites). Each person takes a turn at hosting, but from there you can choose between a couple of approaches.

  • One person supplies the entire meal. This boils down to taking turns throwing a dinner party. It can be for club members only or include significant others, depending on space constraints and the wishes of the participants.
  • Each person brings a part of the meal. Sounds like a pot-luck but there’s usually a theme, rhyme or reason behind the offerings. The hostess could either assign a dish–sharing a specific recipe–or ask for something with a key ingredient or component, but acting as coordinator ensures a balanced meal. Each meal the participants rotate roles, that way no one always gets stuck with the main dish. This also works well if not everyone has company-ready homes (small apartments can either make for difficult arrangements or creative solutions).
  • A progressive supper. Great for larger groups–items can be served cocktail or buffet-style–in a particular neighborhood or geographical area. Each home takes a course and folks travel between places for each. If alcohol is served, a designated driver with a van might be a good idea if the homes are not within walking distance of each other.

How the meals are organized, beyond the hostess, can get pretty creative, too. A particular cookbook could be the source for the group for a single meal or several, the better to vet a new book by a favorite author. Themes could be arranged (or chosen from a hat) for each. Less experienced cooks could pair up with those with more–like my Kitchen Day–and joint meals presented. Or, like a group I once participated in, a single ingredient can be chose for each meeting and each person brings something (not necessarily a full course) that best uses the ingredient with information to share.

Most important, of course, is to have fun. It’s not, after all, about the size of your dining room (have an indoor picnic in the living room if that’s where you’ve got the most space!) or getting out the fine china (though, by all means, use it if you’ve got it!) but hanging out with good food and good friends, or those on their way to becoming them.