I love cookbooks and obviously I love to read, so when the offer came to review The Book Club Cookbook, I jumped at it. What could be more fun than to have available some of the recipes from the most popular book club books? And if it’s your turn to host your book club, well, this book will make choosing a dish so much easier.
This book covers some of my favourite novels: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows), and The Help (Kathryn Stockett) as well as some I have yet to read but are on the top of my towering TBR list: Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese) and Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen). Actually, the list of books on my own TBR list overlaps quite a bit with the books featured in this cookbook. Each novel’s recipe is preceded by a description of the source book and some are followed by an explanation of the food, thoughts from the author and/or a book club’s take on the book itself and why they chose a particular food for their club.
So far I’ve made two recipes (and I’m planning another for this weekend). Both are cookies – Chewy Oatmeal from the book Plainsong by Kent Haruf and Chocolate Chip Shortbread from Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. Both turned out great and were gobbled up by my family in no time. There aren't just cookies or sweets though – savory dishes are included as well. There is Zaytoon’s Chicken Shwarma from Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn, Britta’s Crab Casserole from The Hours by Michael Cunningham, Greek Rice Pudding and Tzatziki from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. There are drinks in here too: Glögg from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as soups and salads. An ambitious book club could have an entire meal with several courses if they didn’t mind mixing their books!
Another great thing about this book club cookbook is that the featured novels range from contemporary to classic, so that a club is bound to find something of interest. I would go further and say I could see using the cookbook itself for future club choice ideas. It would also make a great gift for an avid reader, book club member or not. I highly recommend it!