Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review: The Book Club Cook Book

Summary: Whether it's Roman Punch for The Age of Innocence, or Sabzi Challow (spinach and rice) with Lamb for The Kite Runner, or Swedish Meatballs and Glögg for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, nothing spices up a book club meeting like great eats. Featuring recipes and discussion ideas from bestselling authors and book clubs across the country, this fully revised and updated edition of the classic book guides readers in selecting and preparing culinary masterpieces that blend perfectly with the literary masterpieces their club is reading. This edition features new contributions from a host of today's bestselling authors including:
  • Kathryn Stockett, The Help (Demetrie's Chocolate Pie and Caramel Cake)
  • Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants (Oyster Brie Soup)
  • Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper (Brian Fitzgerald's Firehouse Marinara Sauce)
  • Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone (Almaz's Ethiopian Doro Wot and Sister Mary Joseph Praise's Cari de Dal)
  • Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Annie Barrows's Potato Peel Pie and Non-Occupied Potato Peel Pie)
  • Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See's Deep-Fried Sugared Taro)
The Book Club Cookbook will add real flavor to your book club meetings! -- Tarcher

Most of you probably know by now that I love looking at cookbooks -- maybe not the cooking so much, but I find sitting down with a new cookbook to be so much fun. So when I received a copy of THE BOOK CLUB COOK BOOK: RECIPES AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT FROM YOUR BOOK CLUB'S FAVORITE BOOKS AND AUTHORS - REVISED EDITION, I almost did a little dance. How perfect is a book that combines two of my loves -- food and books? Plus, I remember the original version of this book from a few years back and I thought it was such a novel idea (Get it? Novel?)

I had such a great time reading this cook book! I don't know what I enjoyed more -- looking at the books we have already read and discussed and seeing what we could have served or trying to figure out future book club picks. I have to warn you that this is a pretty heft book with almost 500 pages, but you won't find many photographs of the recipes. There is a section in the middle of the book with colored photos of a few, but there are just too many recipes and too much detail about the books for the authors to have also included a lot of photos.

I have to admit that reading THE BOOK CLUB COOK BOOK made me want to host our next book club meeting (and if you know me, I'm not one for hosting events because I tend to get too stressed!) There are so many fantastic book-related recipes in this cook book and I can't wait to try many of them. Our group usually meets for drinks, dessert, and sometimes a little appetizer; however, this book makes me want to expand our food choices. There are some fantastic main dishes, ranging from simple to more complex; and I might even try a few of them out on my family. In addition, there are food choices from around the world including Asian, Indian, Irish, English, German, and many more.

THE BOOK CLUB COOK BOOK is organized a little differently from your traditional cookbook. After the author's introductions, the cook book is organized alphabetically by book. For each book, there is a pretty detailed summary and then the recipes that are associated with it. For example, CUTTING FOR STONE includes recipes for Almaz's Ethiopian Doro Wot (Chicken Curry) and Sister Mary Joseph Praise's Cari De Dal (Four-Vegetable Dal or Four-Color Dal). There is a little bit of history about the recipes -- in this case, it's straight from author Abraham Verghese; and then there is a section called Novel Thoughts which discusses a book club's personal experience reading CUTTING FOR STONE. The final section for each book is called More Food for Thought which gives some additional thoughts from real-life book clubs.

The last few pages of the cook book are also extremely helpful to book clubs looking to take their group meetings to the next level. There is a section called Recipe for a Book Club which provides some suggestions for creating a successful book club. In addition, there are some Tips for Book Clubs on Pairing Food and Literature.

This might sound a little funny, but I think THE BOOK CLUB COOK BOOK is a fantastic resource for any book club.. even one that don't "do" food-themed meetings. In addition to recipes, there are summaries of 100 ideal book club picks. What a fantastic and fun way to come up with your next book club pick! And if you are so inclined, there are complementary recipes (of course!) as well as some ideas for how other book clubs enhanced their discussion of that book.

In addition to this fun cookbook, the authors also have a website -- The Book Club Cook Book. There you will find author recipes, book club suggestions, as well as guest posts. They also do regular book giveaways, so make sure you sign up to receive their newsletter.

I think THE BOOK CLUB COOK BOOK is a terrific resource for book clubs. I am going to share this with my friends at our next meeting.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this cookbook.

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Marg said...

I really love the sound of this book! It sounds like such a fun combination of books and food - both things that are dear to my heart!

Serena said...

this sounds like a great book to try out. Thanks for the recommendation. I love hosting events...I can't help myself.

bermudaonion said...

I love this book too! I'm going to try to talk my book club into choosing one of the books in there so we can create one of the meals.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have heard so much about this now I really want to read it! not even so much to cook from it but just to go through it and enjoy the choices!

Beth F said...

I love this too! I'll be reviewing it in a week or so. I too liked reading it and I sure wish I had a face-to-face book club so I could cook something for the group.

Peggy Ann said...

This book seems to be all the rage right now! It's on my wishlist

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

Everyone is talking about this book! I enjoyed your review a great deal.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

A friend of mine gave me a similar book a few years ago when I started our book club. It was fun to see what recipes they came up with for each book suggestion.

Libby said...

Now I really must have this book! I keep hearing about it and it sounds so fun :)

Unknown said...

This is a really great idea! Thanks for the review!

Karlie said...

I love the sound of this! And it is absolutely perfect for you!

Peaceful Reader said...

Our book club often tries to match foods to the book we've read. This would be a great treat to read through. I'll have to check out the website.

Heather said...

I belong to a women only sci-fi book club. WE meet at a coffee shop, so we haven't had a chance to feed each other. It could prove very interesting trying to prepare some of the off world dishes that might be mentioned in these books. Love the idea of this book.

Katie said...

This looks like too much fun.

Katie said...

This looks like too much fun.