Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Book Club Cook Book by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

The Book Club Cook Book by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp
Revised edition published March 2012 by Tarcher
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for this review

Last year I read and reviewed Gelman's and Krupp's Table of Contents. Having enjoyed it, I was delighted to see that Gelman and Krupp had another collection combining books, recipes and book club stories. In The Book Club Cook Book, the ladies have put selected 100 books read by book clubs all over the country, including obvious choices such as The Help by Katheryn Stockett and Chocolat by Joanne Harris, to include in the collection. The starting point is obviously the book but from there the authors include the recipes and  "Novel Thoughts" and "Food For Thought," anecdotes from book clubs that have read the book sharing their food pairings and thoughts on the book.

My book club has only rarely tried to tie in the food we serve at meetings with the books we've read but there are a lot of book clubs that put a lot of thought into these things. Many of the book clubs also happen to be comprised of people with culinary experience and they often serve full meals based on the books, such as the meal served by one club after reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Their meal included stuffed grape leaves, marinated olives and spanakopita.

Many of the recipes included are Gelman's and Krupp's versions of books featured in the books or which might be appropriate to the setting of the book. Still others come from the authors themselves, such as Rebecca Skloot's (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) recipe for Chicken Diable and Chris Cleeve's (Little Bee) wife's recipe for Post-Colonial Pie. Perhaps most impressive is a recipe contributed by Queen Noor of Jordan paired with a book about her life, Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life.

Cookbooks are dangerous things, bond to increase the number of recipes you want to try. This cookbook not only added a huge number of recipes to my to-try list (and another book to my shelf) but a couple of dozen more books to my to-read list. I love getting this combination of book ideas, food ideas, and thoughts for discussion that both Table of Contents and The Book Club Cook Book offer. Now I just need to get my book club talked into trying some of these combinations!


  1. I like this idea for a cookbook, especially since now I'm wondering which recipes from which books I've read made it in.

  2. I have both of these cookbooks and I've loved browsing through them but haven't cooked anything from them yet. My biggest complain is the lack of pictures--I've found that I'm more likely to cook from a cookbook if there are an abundance of pictures.