I’m not a book club person. Not for any particular reason. I enjoy reading, but just don’t like discussing a book for more than about 20 seconds. However… a cookbook club? Now we’re talking, since cookbooks and recipes I can discuss ad nauseum.
My friend Roseann, an amazing cook, is always planning parties and events. She was the just the person to help put this together. With a little online research and a few phone calls and emails, Corks & Forks Cookbook Club was born. The prerequisite for the group was you have to love to cook (can you believe there are people who don’t?). And drink wine.
But we weren’t merely going to discuss the book. Every person was going to choose a recipe, prepare it at home and bring it…ready to serve. Then we discuss. All while tasting and sampling each one of the dishes. Accompanied by wine. And Prosecco. Now this is my kind of book club!
The first cookbook for our virgin meeting was Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking. So on a cold January night, 11 women showed up with platters of food, pots of soup, bowls of pasta, pans of lasagna, trays of focaccia and more. All excited to eat, drink, meet new friends and discuss food.
Each recipe was prepared exactly the way Marcella instructed us in the book, no substitutions. And these amazing women sautéed, baked, fried, roasted, boiled and created 11 incredible recipes according to the explicit directions of the sage of Italian Cooking herself.
Layered Crespelle with Tomato, Prosciutto and Cheese, Baked Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Drunk Roast Pork, Baked Green Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Focaccia with Onions Genoese Style, Tuscan Peasant Soup with Cabbage and Beans, Baked Potatoes, Onions and Tomatoes Apulia Style, Penne Bolognese, Frittata with Zucchini, Frittata with Mushrooms Eggplant Parmesan and Pisciotta (Olive Oil Cake), all expertly prepared.
But the most touching surprise of all was when Leah excitedly showed us her very own personally dedicated and signed copy of the book.
We felt like Marcella was right there with us…and we’d like to think she was proud.