A while back, my sweet friend Auburn sent a text with an idea: Let’s start a supper club. Cut to two years later and Auburn and her family have literally moved on (they are now happily frolicking through Ireland) but I am pleased to report that the supper club she imagined is still going strong.
Over the years, I have fielded a few common questions about the structure of the “club” from friends who are interested in starting their own friendly foodie rotation.
Here are the basics of our situation:
- We have five couples participating.
- Roughly once a month one couple hosts all the others. With holidays and everything, we probably have about 10 total dinners per year, so each couple hosts twice.
- Hosts take care of pretty much eveything: menu planning, cooking, cocktails, clean-up. Guests can bring a bottle of wine to share.
That’s pretty much it. Simple, right? And it’s become one of my favorite traditions. I regularly find myself encouraging others to give it a shot.
Word to the wise: if you are looking for structure and decide to Google “supper club rules” you might be overwhelmed by the expectations floating around out there. It can get Pinterest-level crazy, but in my humble opinion, there doesn’t need to be anything complicated about it. In fact, my hypothesis is that the more chill your arrangements are, the more likely you and your crew are to continue the tradition. That being said, I do have just a few pieces of advice that can help you build your own tradition of good food and good times with your good friends.
Choose a reliable crew
There are a lot of fun, wonderful people in my life who would probably not be the best fit for supper club. It’s not that it is particularly hard, but like most great things in life, it takes a little effort and initiative. For example, in our group, the couple that is hosting the upcoming dinner has the responsibility of setting the next month’s date. Remember: It’s a collective enterprise, so plan accordingly.
Get a sitter
One thing our group has in common is young kids. And we love them. And they are absolutely not invited to supper club. 😉
Sometimes it can be challenging to find a place for your kids to be while you are hosting – especially if, like me, you don’t live in the same town as your kids’ grandparents. Our solution is to schedule a later start when we are hosting. My littles love to be bribed to stay in their rooms (donuts for breakfast!) and our clubbers roll up around 7:30 for cocktails before a late evening meal…how very European!
Have fun with your menu
Some people love a theme. Some don’t. Whatever your style, supper club is great time to dust off those platters you registered for, call your mom for that secret family recipe, or pull out that exotic cookbook you’ve been meaning to try. My husband loves to experiment on our friends, and we typically do three courses: a casual appetizer that people can snack on when they arrive, a family-style main meal, and something sweet for dessert.
Keep it manageable
To temper the last point, remember that the whole point is to have fun. If you are completely stressed out about an elaborate plan, your enthusiasm for hosting will likely disappear. Also, know your limits as a group. With five couples, that means that each host is responsible for serving 10 people, which pushes the boundaries of what many kitchens and dining rooms can handle. Find a number that everyone can comfortably work with and stick to it.
There you have it friends – Try it for yourselves and let me know how it goes! And in closing, I’ll leave you with some lovely words from food guru Michael Pollan:
“Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure.” – XOXO
Featured photo cred: Abby Mashunkashey, spirit animal and supper club OG