"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Le Gourmet Club

I know I'm verging into pathetic suburban key party territory here, but a few other couples we are friends with in the neighborhood also enjoy cooking and eating, and so we've decided to emulate our parents and form a so-called Gourmet Club, through which we will take turns hosting dinner parties that all of us will contribute to. Whoever hosts gets to pick the theme and assign courses. We expect that most of these will be grown-up affairs, but figure that a few could be made kid-friendly, since we all have kids ranging from age 3 to age 13, who get along.

Figuring that since my dining room and kitchen are tight to host 8 people (though doable), we volunteered to host the first party at the end of June, so that we can use the back deck and yard. I chose a Moroccan/North African theme, partly because there are a number of recipes I want to try, and partly because I think the summer outdoor setting will be just right. I'm hoping for a very casual, sensual kind of thing, lots of finger food, paper lanterns, wine in stemless glasses, etc.

I'm considering main courses of a slow-roasted, shredded lamb with mint and pomegranate that Nigella does, served with a couscous, maybe with olives and preserved lemon, and a vegetable tagine. We'll need a selection of salads and hors d'oeuvres, and I'd like to do a rose-flavored ice cream as part of the dessert (at my birthday dinner last year, we were served a rose ice cream with raspberry sorbet and lychees that was ambrosial). I'd love to hear ideas if anyone has any.

Other themes we kicked around, besides the obvious national cuisines: upscale barbecue/picnic, ancient Rome/Greece, retro dinner party using no cookbooks from after 1960 (Beef Wellington? rumaki?), tapas, smoking, all desserts.... Would also love ideas.

And of course we have all agreed that an annual field trip to NYC to a restaurant we all want to try is a necessity.

Wish us luck!


Revalani said...

When we lived at Sea Ranch (very beautiful, very isolated) we and several friends started the EEC -- ethnic eating club. There was almost nothing in the area but tourist places and a mediocre Mexican restaurant. We missed Thai food in particular. It was organized very much like you plan to do yours, and it worked well (in fact, it's still going on, with a substitute couple now that Jerry and I are out of reach). I wanted to do Moroccan/Tunisian and make b'stilla, but never got around to it. We did Thai, Greek, Provencal, various Italian provinces (one couple traveled to Italy regularly and knew the cuisine really well), Indian -- oh gosh I'm forgetting a bunch -- Kentucky redneck (one person's roots), and yes, a '50s retro thing with onion dip, pigs in blankets, beef Wellington. It was huge fun!

Mlle Gateau said...

Ooh, glad to hear that. I'm sitting here surrounded by cookbooks, ready to let everyone know the plan. Better put up my preserved lemons today!