The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Party planning made difficult

Here's the deal: I'm in a book club and it's my turn to host in July. It's still more than a month away, but I've been thinking about it for weeks... I've been going back and forth about what book to pick, whether I should send real invitations or use evite (as my fellow book clubbers have been), what to serve for dinner, to favor or not to favor, etc...? The only thing I knew from the start is that I wanted to have it in my home. Some people have opted to meet at a restaurant, but there is something soothing about getting together with girlfriends in a homey atmosphere.

I finally decided on a book: "
The Third Life of Grange Copeland," Alice Walker's debut novel. The book is set in the south, my favorite region of the States. So I want a menu that reflects southern traditions, the same good stuff my grandmother from Huntsville, Ala., made when I was growing up. Here is the most recent draft of my menu:

Fried Green Tomatoes with Crab Remoulade
Main Course
Oven Fried Chicken
Steamed Green Beans
Corn on the Cob with Chile Butter
Cheese Biscuits or run-o-the-mill Dinner Rolls
Peach Cobbler or Red Velvet Cupcakes
Sweet Tea or
San Pellegrino

So what do ya'll think? Any other ideas for the main course, dessert or drinks? There are a number of teetotalers (I'm not one of 'em!) in the group, so I was leaning toward skipping the alcohol. Maybe a cold green bean salad instead? It will be July... And if I go with the cupcakes, I plan to stack them in a cupcake tree. How cute is that? If I serve peach cobbler, I will put it in a trifle bowl so the tender crust and juicy peaches are visible.

So, come on... Help me further complicate what should be a simple task.


at 4:36 PM Blogger Julie Gaw said...

Holy cow! Nicci, you're book club obviously is way more organized than the one I'm in! We get together once a month - or so - if we can, and just send emails to invite others. We usually have a red wine, a white wine, and some snacks/appetizers, nothing too elaborate. So I'm not sure I can be much help! My suggestion: downsize. Pick one or two more complicated things if you want, but simplify your life! It's nice to be Martha Stewart, but you don't have all those people working for you (or do you????!). :) We're reading "Garlic and Sapphires" by former NYT restaurant critic Ruth Reichl, and book club meets at my place this Thursday. Reichl has recipes throughout the book, so I was hoping to make one or two. Being that I love cheesecake and would love to try a recipe I like better than my old standard, I'm going to make her cheesecake, probably tonight. But it remains to be seen if I make anything more elaborate, or content everyone with some cheese and crackers, and farmers' market sweet red pepper sauce poured over cream cheese, served w/ nice crackers. Bon appetit!

at 4:46 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

Yes, my book club is organized. We meet each month and the host prepares (or pays for) dinner... So, being that it is dinner, I definitely want to make something more substantial than what you suggested. (Although it would be simple!) But I'm an avid cook so I can handle a dinner party without flinching... :-)

at 8:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

ambitious for a book club...but where are the grits?

at 9:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the menus sounds i wish i was int the club and i read the book u will enjoy it.how about some homemade ice cream if u go with peach cobbler

at 9:32 AM Blogger Nicci King said...

Hey, Anon (at 8:38 p.m.). The problem with grits is... well, I don't like 'em. So, I don't cook them. Although a friend of mine makes shrimp and grits and they smell heavenly! It's just a texture thing for me...

Anon (at 9:23 a.m.): Glad you think the menu sounds delish. Good suggestion on the ice cream, but Turkey Hill does the work for me! Plus, I think there is something feminine and dainty about cupcakes, so I'll probably go with those. Plus, it's easier for portion control! :-)

at 11:49 AM Blogger sudiepav said...

Great menu...My book group meets for dinner each June and the co-founders take turns hosting. Not my turn this year. Other meetings are weekday evenings and we just serve wine, soft drinks and substantial snacks.

My only suggestions would be...southern green beans cooked with country ham and onion, and buttermilk biscuits. Although I'm a primarily "from scratch" cook,IMHO Pillsbury makes a great frozen product. My husband's lead cook was from Selma AL, and although she's made biscuits all her life, she said hers weren't as good as the frozen ones. And she is one damned fine cook.

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