How to start your own dinner club

You’ve heard of book clubs where members discuss a different book every month or scrapbook clubs where members get together weekly or monthly to scrapbook together. What about dinner clubs, where people get together once a month or four times a year to make and eat dinner? As a member of a monthly book club, I realized the diversity of our group. There were two Hispanics, one Chamorro (a woman from Guam), one Indian, one Pakistani, one Ethiopian, and two women of mixed heritage. The hostess of the monthly book club would usually prepare an elaborate dinner of her heritage that month and we would inevitably begin discussing the food that had been prepared, as opposed to the book itself. Thus, it was the beginning of our dinner club.

There are actually two variations of a dinner club. One kind of dinner club has a group of people who try a different restaurant or different ethnic food once a month. One member usually decides on the restaurant where they all meet and order and share different entrees. This is a great idea, especially if you live in a big city where there are hundreds of different restaurants. However, not everybody has access to a variety of restaurants and many people are lucky if they have a McDonald’s in their town, so, for some, this is not the best type of dinner club to form.

The second type of dinner club is the one we will discuss today. This second type of dinner club also has many variations. One way to host a dinner club is to have the hostess for the month decide on a genre of food, like Ethiopian food. The hostess is responsible for cooking the main entry’. The other members get assigned different courses, like salad, dessert, or a side dish, and bring them in preparation for the dinner club. This is the potluck style of a dinner club.

For an even more exciting and interactive dinner club, the hostess will decide on the genre of food and the entire group comes together in the hostess kitchen and prepares the entire meal in a group effort. This not only exposes the members of the group to different types of food but to different methods of cooking, as well.

The great thing about a dinner club is its versatility. Make the dinner club even more special one month and invite partners. Couples can get together for some food and great conversation. If you are a stay-at-home mother, get a couple of other stay-at-home moms together and start a kids lunch club. Have your children experiment with different types of foods or cooking methods, if they are old enough. If your children are not old enough to be let loose in the kitchen, make them their lunches and let them play while you get together with other moms for some cuisine that does NOT include tuna sandwiches and macaroni and cheese!

If you’d like, you can make your dinner clubs theme-inspired or movie-inspired. Rent a copy of The Godfather and watch it while you and the other members make an Italian feast. Watch the Oscars together and cook movie-theatre food like caramel popcorn and fancy hot dogs.

During the Christmas holiday seasons, why not temporarily convert your dinner club into a baker’s club where you all get together and cook different types of cookies and bread and pastries? If you have a group of friends that love to get together and love to experiment with different foods, the possibilities are endless!


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