My family has been a part of a “Supper Club” for the past three years with 8-10 other families in our neighborhood. We love this club not only because of the food (although the food is always amazing), but because of the community it’s created within our urban neighborhood. On a weekly basis, we have slowly cultivated tight and meaningful relationships, all over sharing simple meals together.
Every supper club is different, but in a nutshell, this is what mine looks like:
When it’s your night to host (we meet every Sunday night at 5:30, sans holiday weekends), the host house does all the work. The rotation schedule is sent out months in advance, to allow for preparation. The host can make anything they want for the meal, which has ranged from elaborate French themed Coq Au Vin to a simple hamburger grill out.
Because our supper club is made up primarily of families with small children, we even have a general understanding that if you can’t make it for a particular reason (such as sick kids or a busy weekend), but are still hungry, you can send a family representative to fill up take-out containers.
Generally speaking, Supper Clubs can be put together many different ways, and the “rules” will vary from group to group. If you’re interested in creating a group, here are a few helpful tips:
Figure out who will be part of the group. Neighbors, relatives, single professionals, and people in your life you want to get to know better. The core group members will stay consistent from meal to meal. Also, consider who will be a part of the club. Is this an adults only group? Are children invited? Can members bring guests?
When and where will the club meet? Supper clubs typically meet either monthly or weekly. Decide on a consistent time and date (every 2nd Wednesday of the month, every Sunday evening, ect.). Understand that not everyone will be able to make it every time, and that is OK. If the club meets on a fairly consistent basis, there’s always next time.
Provisions. Figure out how the meal will be prepared. Is it a pitch-in with the host member making the main dish and every one else bringing a side? Does the host prepare everything on a rotating schedule? Do you cook the meal together?
The Menu. Is there anyone in the club with dietary restrictions? Do you need to consider children while preparing the meal? These are all questions to ask when cooking for a large crowd. Additionally, to add variety into the group, consider preparing seasonal dishes and drinks to correlate with the calendar. (Mexican, Tapas, Italian, Greek, Burger cookout, etc.).
With a little guidance and ground rules, being part of a supper club can be a very enjoyable and delicious way to create community in your neighborhood or circle of friends. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself into the kitchen and get cooking (with others)!
Emily Elling is a corporate interior designer who lives in central Indiana with her 4 rugrats and drug making husband of 9 years. When she’s not taking care of the monsters, she can be found barefoot in the kitchen or hiding in the isles of her favorite thrift store buying other’s peoples crap. You can read more from Emily on her blog, DesignHer Momma.