No Time for a Book Club? Start a Cooking Club in 5 Steps!

As much as I love to read, I admit that don't always make it a priority. Or when I do, I want to read what I want to read.  Now imagine getting 5-8 other moms together to discuss the same book.  If we all have young children, it is so hard to do!  Mom life just consumes all of our time so why not start a cooking club?!

Mompreneur on Fire - Cooking Club

When I lived back East, I was in a book club aka wine club.  Six of my girlfriends and I were in our 20s and it was BK, (Before Kids) where we had all the time in the world to be together.  

We started off reading a selected book each month and as our friendships grew we would still read the book but then would barely discuss it because we were so excited to see one another we couldn't wait to catch up on our real lives.  Occasionally though a book would draw us back for some deep and sometimes heated conversations.  Actually this book, I remember, was the most heated discussions.  Do not get me started. 

This idea is taken, lovingly from one of my most favorite people in the whole. wide. world.  Shauna Niequist.  Each month, Shauna and friends gather around the table for good food and plenty of conversation.   She says: 

“We don't learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Anyone is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.” 

With the girls by my side, my husband growing in his career, my parents passing, I am often bursting for an easy outlet of authenticity and connection.  Every book club attempt in the past years has fallen flat to cold and curfews.  It's harder to read even though I coincidentally, wrote another post about being a mom and finding the time to read again!  

In any event, when I first learned of cooking clubs from reading Shauna's book Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table  and I grabbed onto the idea and ran with it.  Actually here she discusses specifically right here how she runs her cooking club.  And it's brilliant.  

The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.
— Shauna Niequist

So to start your cooking club you need a few essentials:

1. Trusted friends interested in getting together on a regular night every few weeks.  

That may seem easy, that may seem tough.  Or maybe there is someone you would like to get to know better.  You know there are women you connect with and would love to see more of.  Here's your perfect opportunity to get to know them!  Make a list.  Make a meaningful list of women you want to deep dive with.  10 maximum.  

2. Invite but invite with rules and understanding.

Another woman I love and fellow Podcaster, Kristin Rogers just had a podcast with 5 of her friends about creating book clubs where they discuss pulling one together for themselves and even their kids.  It was quite a fun episode you can check out here!   What I love is how they were very intentional about the rules of their book club.  We, here, have established doing a cooking club vs a book club but setting the foundation applies everywhere.  

This is where you can invite people you love to see and those you want to see more of into the cooking club.  Now is also the time to be upfront with what you are looking for.  Connection,  yes but what else?  Consistency.  Not to have to spend a ton of money.  Will each person put in say $20 and the host will supply everything but the wine?  Maybe it's a good idea for you to work in teams and each team can rotate hosting.  That way responsibility isn't on one person.  How often will you meet?  Monthly? Quarterly?  When is best?  For breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?  Will others be invited in? And how?

3. Pick a theme.  

Yes!  Do that now!  As the host, you get to decide.

How about Breakfast for Dinner. Or Italian Night! Mexican!  Favorite family recipes!  Favorite EASY recipes!  Appetizers and Hor D'euvres!  There I just gave you 5 options to choose from.  Host your first dinner and then together you, as a group, can decide what you want to do next time. 

4. Pick some discussion points.  

The conversations can be heavy or light, as you wish.  Don't force it though.  Some questions that started our cooking club included:

  1. Name one thing you learned today.
  2. Tell us something that happened to you this week (or since the last we spoke) that I wouldn't know about nor know to ask about. 
  3. What can you open up about without spilling your guts? 
  4. Where have you succeeded today?  Where have you failed? How's mom life treating you?
  5. And the ultimate, let's cut to the chase, question: "What keeps you at night?"

Is there something on your mind? Something you are trying to figure out?  Work out? Want more information about? Bring it up.  Make it your question.  You don't have to go into the deep deep history of why, you can simply ask for insight. 

5. Enjoy.  

There's fear and pressure and judgment all around us.  When pulling together a group there can be pressure to for everything to right and perfect.   Forget that.  Stop wasting your time there.  Focus your time on enjoying what you pulled together.  Make and create the connections.  Enjoy and enjoy and enjoy!

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