“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”
― Julia Child, My Life in France
Trying new recipes and having fun is exactly what Westerlycooks: A Westerly Library Cook Book Club is all about. Each month the small and dedicated foodie group meets to pick out a cookbook and try different recipes by sharing a dish. Food is a great universal language and makes for common ground that all people can appreciate and come together over a meal to discuss.
The Cook Book Club started in October of 2017 by a former reference librarian and since January of this year has been led by Westerly Library Circulation Associate Amanda Sperry.
“It’s been a good core group since the beginning,” says Amanda. “Its been really nice for me getting to know them.”
The cooking club is made up of a diverse mix of all ages from twenty-somethings and working mothers to active seniors who all meet the third Monday of the month in the evening on the third floor of the Westerly Library in the Terrace Room. Amanda works with them to pick a cookbook, and each member checks out a copy of the book and signs up to make a recipe from the cookbook at home to bring the next month for them all to share and discuss their thoughts.
While no one is trying to be the next Rachel Ray or Giada De Laurentiis – they strive to cater to the average home cook who wants to please their palate and try new dishes and ingredients.
“Its really casual, everyone brings a readymade dish and we discuss everything you like and didn’t like about the cookbook and recipes,” says Amanda.
Last month the group read “The Home Cook: recipes to know by heart” by Alex Guarnaschelli. And per their discussion the general consensus was that recipes had “too many ingredients”, were “too chef-y”, and more often than not called for “too much hot spice” or “too much acid.” However after trying each of their ready-made dishes “they loved each others,” said Amanda.
“Some of our favorites were the Grape Mostarda, Warm Rice Salad, Warm Potato and Scallion Salad, and the Lemon Cake.”
The group keeps a blog on the Westerly Library website of cookbooks they read, their meeting notes, feedback, and even rate the cookbook. Elizabeth Coffey has been a member of the cookbook club since December of 2017, she joined and started participating after she saw a sign posted for a cookie exchange which piqued her interest.
Never having been a member of a club such as this before she said she’s so glad she found this group.
“It’s great because we all enjoy cooking and have quite a bit of experience. You could say that we are foodies, I guess,” she said. “I like how we really stay on topic as we go around the room, explaining the pluses and minuses of the recipes we chose. It’s a lovely group of people.”
Elizabeth’s favorite read so far has been The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.
“My husband and I have enjoyed every single recipe I have made from it and we repeat them often. We are trying to follow the Mediterranean diet for most of our meals and this book makes it a treat! For example, there is a recipe for Mushroom Tart that I tried at the club. I couldn’t believe how wondrous the texture of the crust was. It’s truly delicious and amazingly easy to make.”
Westerlycooks: Julia Child would be thrilled!
The Westerly Library Cook Book Club is open to all ages, anyone can join. To find out more info and how to register visit [email protected] (401) 596-2877 Option 3 or stop by the Westerly Library and sign up in person!
Check out the blog at: https://westerlycooks.wordpress.com/this-month/