You know that feeling when you have an idea you want to share with the world, but want to try it out quietly first, to make sure you can actually pull it off? Cookbook-ish was one of those ideas. While cooking from the same cookbook with your friends and sharing the meal together is far from being original, it is something I had never done before. My motivations were simple: justify hoarding cookbooks, cook more, host more, and connect with FOLD friends, customers, and collaborators in real life. Before extending the invitation to anyone who would want to join, I tried the idea with a few close friends who are always up for my antics. The occasion was my birthday, so they couldn’t really say ‘no’ anyway. The book was DINING IN by Alison Roman. You can read about the dinner we put together here. It was fun, it was delicious, and it inspired me to move forward with Cookbook-ish on a bigger scale.
Five public gatherings followed based on five fabulous cookbooks. Each event attracted a bevy of fellow cookbook addicts, avid home cooks, and some of the most talented creative entrepreneurs in my home town. Many participants contributed so much more than the dish they prepared—from professional photography to graphic design to floral arrangements. It was wonderful and inspiring to see such a positive community response to this project and witness all the creative connections made at each dinner table. Here is the lineup of cookbooks we enjoyed in 2018—including the “trial” gathering—and the corresponding photos. Enjoy!
DINING IN, Alison Roman
Location: my house
Favorite recipe: Burrata with Tangerines, Shallots and Watercress. You can find the recipe here. Sourdough bread is from a different cookbook, and we really enjoyed it with the salad.
How to Eat a Peach, Diana Henry
Location: West Beach
Favorite recipe: hard to pick just one, but the Pear, Blackberry and Hazelnut Cake takes the cake. You can find the recipe and full event menu here.
Event photography: Lerina Winter
Floral design: Margaret Joan Florals
Beach cabana and umbrella: The Cabanas
Other cookbooks I enjoyed last year that did not get scheduled in the 2018 Cookbook-ish line-up:
Wine Food, Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker
Tartine All Day, Elizabeth Pruett
Near and Far, Heidi Swanson
2019 is upon us, and with the beginning of the year, I am really excited about the possibilities Cookbook-ish can create for FOLD and the community we built together. Our first book of the year (scheduled for February 2) is Salad for President by Julia Sherman. Not in Santa Barbara? You can still participate by cooking and tagging your posts with #cookbookish_sb to join in on the fun.
Cookbook-ish is a book club and a community of like-minded foodies and creative people in my hometown. I curate the book selection and ask everyone to choose 2-3 recipes they'd like to make. I then come up with a cohesive menu based on everyone's selections. We cook at home and bring our respective dishes to share in a potluck-style dinner.