Supper Club

About this time last year, Ryan and I started getting serious about an idea we’d been tossing around: what about starting a supper club?

We were hankering for a good, old-fashioned gathering of foodies – not necessarily experienced cooks, but people who would really get into researching recipes, menu planning, wine pairings, centerpieces. Beautiful, slow meals with great food and sparkling conversation (as Ryan loves to say).

Supper Club appetizers at the beach
Supper club appetizers at the beach this past weekend

We’d done some brainstorming about who might want to give it a try with us, how we might organize hosting and cooking, that kind of thing, and decided on quarterly dinners, with a maximum of 8 people, for logistical reasons.

We also wanted a group that didn’t know each other very well. Since we were hoping for a year-long, four meal commitment, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for new friendship building.  So, we ended up with just that: four couples who knew each other, but not well, each to host one of the four dinners.

We’ve spent a year now plotting, cooking, eating and drinking together, and it’s been wonderful.

This past weekend, we had our fifth dinner – a fresh, light menu planned around late summer produce. Our friends Tim and Amy were hosts this time around, and they live right near the water, so we strolled down to the beach with our appetizers.

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Sampling along the way

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Supper Club – Late Summer Menu

Wasabi Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon
Radish Tea Sandwiches with Sesame Butter

Lobster Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
Green Beans with Arugula-Mint Pesto
Grilled Zucchini with Pecans & Bleu Cheese

Plum Tart & Homemade Armagnac Ice Cream

I love how each of these dishes was debated, tested, and carefully timed. From the most seasoned cooks among us (not I!) to the greenest, we’re all clearing our schedules to prepare for supper club… and so far, it’s definitely been worth the effort. Especially this past weekend! The meal was delicious and the slow pace delightful – a walk, a game in between courses, compelling conversation on faith, parenting, politics, travel, loss.

The act of eating together has built an intangible room around us, where mutual regard, creativity, and friendship have taken up residence.

In her book The Gastronomical Me, food writer and memoirist, M.F.K. Fisher, writes this thoughtful comment on the power of sharing a meal:

People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do? … The easy answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.

This is, I think, the magic of supper club (and other special meals with friends, too) — that we satisfy much more than our stomachs along the way.

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