Dishing it up from THE BOOK CLUB COOKBOOK

Listen to the interview.

Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp are cooks, book enthusiasts and friends. They wrote The Book Club Cookbook, a guide to integrating delicious food and food-related discussion into your book club, over stacks of books and endless cups of coffee at a local sandwich shop. The revised edition of The Book Club Cookbook features twenty newer titles, along with recipes and insights from authors Kathryn Stockett, Abraham Verghese, Sara Gruen, and many more.

 Integrating book-related cuisine into meetings gives book club members a chance to connect with the literature, try new recipes, and spice up their meetings.  Here are some ideas for matching food with the books you’re discussing.

Read with food in mind.  Notice foods or dishes the author mentions.  Authors may include the same food frequently, such as caramel cake in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help or potato peel pies in The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Make note of any foods that play a leading role in the literature that you might want to try.

Explore new foods.  Perhaps there’s a food mentioned in a book that intrigues you.  Many books with foreign settings, or that are set in different time periods, include references to interesting dishes – and provide excellent opportunities for culinary exploration.  You might try an Ethiopian Dish when discussing Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, an Afghani dish with Khaled Hosseini’s novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, or Roman Punch, a frozen champagne drink from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

Get creative!  Find interesting and unusual ways to link food to your reading selection – and have your club guess the connection.  Some of our favorite pairings:  pumpkin biscuits with Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (a book club combined the “biscuit” in Seabiscuit with pumpkin, the name of Seabiscuit’s pony companion); asparagus spears and flat noodles, representing The Point and The Flats, the two neighborhoods depicted in Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River; and strawberry shortcake covered with thick whipped cream, a visual reminder of the Antarctic landscape in Alfred Lansing’s Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage.

No time to cook? Serve simple prepared foods such as Dutch cheeses with Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, canned foods – even SPAM! – with The Road by Cormac McCarthy, or bee cookies with Chris Cleave’s Little Bee.

Directions

Markus Zusak’s Vanilla Kipferls (Crescent Cookies)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two baking sheets lightly with cooking spray.

2. To make the cookies: Combine the flour, hazelnut meal, and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add to flour mixture. Using your fingers, mix butter and flour thoroughly for 8–10 minutes, until a soft dough is formed.

3. Pinch off small pieces of dough and mold gently between your palms to form 3-inch ropes, thicker in the middle and tapered at the ends. Fashion each piece into a crescent shape and place onto the prepared trays, leaving a generous 1/2-inch in between (they do spread a little and grow in size when cooked).

Note: Hazelnut meal is made from ground-up hazelnuts, and can be found at specialty grocers and online. You can also make your own hazelnut meal: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) of shelled hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally so nuts don’t burn, until they are fragrant and browned. Remove tray from oven and let nuts cool slightly. While still warm, fold the nuts inside a clean kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove their skins. Place nuts in a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade, and process until they are finely ground.

Using two vanilla beans will give the cookies a more intense vanilla flavor. However, vanilla beans are expensive, and just one bean will still impart a delicious hint of vanilla.


Yield: About 3 1/2 dozen cookies

What's Needed:

 

For the cookies

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups hazelnut meal (see note)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the vanilla sugar

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1–2 whole vanilla beans, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (see note)

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Pop some Bubbly for Valentine's Day
Lemon Ginger Marmalade
Ice Bowls

Raspberry-Chipotle Brownies with Chocolate Ganache
Truffle Butter
Gingerbread Cookie Martini

Danny Gold's Holiday Gift Ideas for the Beer and Wine Lover on your list
Carrot Cake from Chuck Hughes
Butter Cookies

Gingerbread Men
Spritz
Bourbon Balls

Coconut Macaroons
O is for Oatmeal
Chocolate Crackles

Russian Tea Cakes
Classic Cut- Out Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Pink Champagne Cookies
Mulled Wine
Warm Pomegranate Cider

Chocolate-covered Peppermint Martini
Herbed Mozzarella Bites
Chef Clendon Springer's Baked Brie with Sugar Roasted Pears and Red Fruit Compote

Pam Anderson's Master Formula for Perfect Savory Scones
Cinnamon Rolls
Holiday Cookie Tree Centerpiece

Peanut Butter-Toffee Cheesecake Brownies
Triple Peanut Fudge
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Sugar Pumpkin Chutney in a Paper Pumpkin Cage
Turkey 101
Basic Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin and All about Roasting with Molly Stevens

Effervescent Bath Bombs and Bath Bomb Cupcakes
White and Dark Chocolate-covered Pretzels and Cinnamon Almond Snack Mix
Blue Cheese Walnut Dip

The Winemaker Cooks: A chat with Chris Hanna
Thanksgiving Dessert Buffet Ideas
Apple Cranberry Coleslaw

"Blue Christmas" Cosmo
Baby Bourbon Cakes in Half-Pint Mason Jars
GingerSNAP Cocktail

Chocolate Peppermint Pattie Cups
Pie Crust tips and favorite Pumpkin Pie recipes
Pine Cone Cheese Ball

Mary Ann Winkowski's Malted Butterscotch Bars from The Ghost Whisperer's Cookbook
Pumpkin Pie Martini
Satan's Whiskers

Owl Cookies and Halloween Ideas from Rosanna Bowles
Bitty Bats
Irresistible Peanut Butter Jack o' Lanterns

Peanut Butter Glazed Popcorn
Spooky Spiderweb Cupcakes
Prime Rib on the Grill

In Season: Apple Recipes
Cranberry Liqueur
Caipirinha

Pina Colada Ice Pops
Mojitos by the pitcher
Blueberry Martini Ice Pops

Stars & Stripes Old Glory Cake
Cherry Bombs
Porterhouse for Two

Classic Cherry Bounce
Blue Ice
Ginger Peach Bellini

Benedictine Spread
Bourbon Molasses Glazed Chicken Wings
Sweet Sushi

Gumdrop flowers
Peanut Butter Bunny Crisp Cake
Chicken and Salsa Tamales

How to make Crepes
Italian Lemon Drop Cookies
Roast Leg of Lamb with Oven Roasted Potatoes

Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies
Corned Beef Hash
King "Cup"cakes

Limoncello
Mini cocktails in chocolate cups
Chocolate-dipped Cheesecake-stuffed Strawberries

Booze Cakes
Rocky Road Chocolate Bark
Layered Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Red Velvet Pancakes
Pineapple Tarts
Jo's Candy Cane Bath Salts

Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Toasts
Potted Cheese
Beef and Guinness Stew with Potato Herb Dumplings

Bite-size Crab Cakes
Panty Cookies
The Vixen

Magic Wands
Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce
Holiday Sliders

The Apple Cocktail
Caramel Apples
Baked Stuffed Brie

Spinach Con Queso Dip
Red Pepper Cheddar Dip
Buttermilk Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Cloud Frosting

April Shower Violette Cocktail
Easter wine pairings
Chocolate-dipped Marshmallows

Buttermilk Coconut Pie
Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter
Roasted Corned Beef and Cabbage

Homemade Irish Cream
Guinness Float
Mini Ruebens in Rye Cups

Luscious Lip Balm
Grown-Up Chocolate Bourbon Balls
Beef Wellington

Chinese New Year Tradition: Dumplings and Whole Chicken
Pumpkin Pie Crepes
Potato Poppers

Pumpkin Bread
Cookie tips from Krystina Castella
Raspberry Vinegar

Rugelach
Homemade Peppermint Schnapps
Homemade Kahlua

Halloween Cupcakes
Blue Cheese-stuffed Dates
Spicy Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Bourbon Slush
Black Widow Cocktail
Cinnamon Rolls

Ghoulish Pasta
Warm Brandied Fruit Compote
Snowman Spice Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Peppermint Cupcakes
Eggnog Cupcakes

Cake Pops
Lemon Cups
Rita Heikenfeld's Apple, Herb and Edible Flower Jelly

Purple Plum Torte from the The Essential New York Times Cookbook
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