The Recipe Club

Start Your Own

The Perfect Recipe for a Recipe Club


  • 6 to 8 friends
  • Snacks and drinks
  • 6 to 8 folders (1 for each person)
  • 1 story per person
  • 6 to 8 copies of a recipe (1 for each person)

Total time: 2 hours

  1. 1. Make a list of friends to invite. When considering the group, bring a diverse mix to the table. Fold in a variety of people, some old friends, some new ones, so that you have an interesting combination.
  2. 2. Send an invitation that lays out what a Recipe Club is and how it works. (See sample invite below.) Be sure each member comes prepared to tell a food-related story–and emphasize that food is often a metaphor for something that has transpired in our lives. (Example: one Recipe Club member told a story that, on the surface, was about making Baked Alaska, but was really about unrequited love; another member told a story about cooking for one that was about accepting being single.) Explain that recipe clubs are about honoring memories, speaking out with honesty, being heard without judgment, and creating or renewing friendships.
  3. 3. Ask everybody to bring a written recipe that relates to the story–and be sure they bring enough copies of the recipe for everyone in the Recipe Club. Recipes can be original or can be inspired by a published recipe. (When shared, any published recipes should reveal the original source, such as a magazine or cookbook.)
  4. 4. Prepare some snacks and drinks. Keep them as simple as you like. Remember: as much as food is a focus of the stories, it doesn’t have to be the focus of this gathering. Recipe Clubs are more about what you say than what you eat.
  5. 5. If possible, create a circle or semi-circle of chairs around your couch. This creates a welcoming atmosphere.
  6. 6. Place folders for the recipes on each person’s seat. This is for collecting recipes at the end of the Recipe Club meeting.
  7. 7. Once you’re all seated, offer to go first. Set the tone: be as honest, friendly, forthcoming, and intimate as you’re comfortable being.
  8. 8. After a story is told, take a moment for everyone to appreciate the meaning. Then open up to comments or questions. If the group is shy at first, it’s often good to begin with a direct question, such as, “Has anybody else ever had a similar experience?”
  9. 9. When everyone has had a turn to share, it’s time to exchange recipes.

Sample Invitation

You can download a pretty invitation for snail-mailing to potential Recipe Club members. Or, simply cut and paste the invitation below, if you prefer to email your guests.


Dear [Name of potential Recipe Club member],

I hope you can come to my Recipe Club on [Date], at [Starting-Ending Time am/pm].

Recipe Clubs are food-themed friendship circles in which friends—both new and old—gather to share memorable food-related stories from their lives. They were inspired by the terrific novel-cookbook, THE RECIPE CLUB: A TALE OF FOOD AND FRIENDSHIP. (Check out the book’s website:

Please come prepared to tell a food story that is significant to you. It can be about anything at all: a memorable meal you cooked for a lover…a passion for a specific flavor…the first time you tasted a specific ingredient. Your story can encompass food and travel, food and family, food and friendship…you get the picture. The funnier, the sadder, the more nostalgic, the more personal—in other words, the more real your story—the better!

Also, please bring a recipe that relates to the story you plan to tell. Bring [Number of People Attending] copies of your recipe to share with your fellow Recipe Club members. Your recipe can be original, or it can be inspired by a published recipe. (Any recipe from a magazine or cookbook should credit the source.) The recipe can be as simple or as complex as you like, anything goes!

Can’t wait to see you for the Recipe Club! Please RSVP by [Date].

[Signed, your name]



Place: [address and telephone]

RSVP: [email address]