Three years ago, a recently retired tech executive in San Diego, CA decided to start a book club that featured cook books, cooking and ladies who cooked. Nine of Mary Lou Battista friends joined in and 3 years later they have over 30 members and meet each month at a different member’s home to share their culinary contributions based on cook books or cooking blogs chosen by that month’s host. “Not all 30 show up each month” shares Mary Lou “and that is a good thing as that would be a lot of dishes to taste!”
Funny thing about cooking as Mary Lou actually has a degree in home economics but never used her education in her career. It was only after retirement that is has come into play.
Anyone can join she says but if you were not brought in by a current member, there is a brief questionnaire to complete before being welcomed. So far there has been no bad cooks.
Past Cookbook Club gatherings have featured the recipes of Crescent Dragonwagon, a prolific author of children’s books and poetry, as well as many years’ worth of vegetarian-friendly cookbooks, Greek recipes from cookbook author and PBS cooking show host Diane Kochilas, and a tartine-themed meeting using culinary tastes and ideas from Country Loaf, a well-known San Francisco establishment that has 3 cookbooks under their belt. This past November featured recipes from Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game, paired with desserts from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. And to top off the month, several members went to hear Dorie Greenspan speak at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla, CA, where she was promoting her latest cookbook, Everyday Dorie.
I asked Mary Lou how she keeps her Cookbook Club organized. She responded that she is so grateful for today’s technology as they use a Google doc for members to sign up and share what they are bringing each month. They also have a Facebook page that features their wonderful and delicious picture laden blog each month and a great website.
She shared that they meet on Sundays (exception is holidays) and that the monthly hostess provides a table big enough for everyone to sit together (some months are an impossible task), a signature beverage and serving utensils. Before the eating commences, the members get a chance to talk about their dish, if they made any changes to the recipe and if they would make it again.
Congratulations to the San Diego Cookbook Club on their upcoming 3 -year Anniversary and may you cook together for many years to come!