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"40 Yrs of Chez Panisse"
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2 March 2014
I wasn't really taken with our book club selection for this month, "40 Years of Chez Panisse," and I wondered how the club was going to make a presentation about it, since it's more of a "browsing book" than a "reading book."
It turned out to be the most fun meeting I've been to since I became an official member.
I continue to learn more about this group and how it operates. The March meeting is the business meeting, where minutes from last year are read and, among other things, the books chosen to be read next year (the "year" goes from October to April...next month will be the end of this "year.") are announced.
Next year's books are all based on the theme of award winning books in many genres written by women (this year's theme was about the diversity of California). The women announcing which books had been chosen made the presentation as if they were Oscar presenters, given that tomorrow night is the Oscars. It was very cute.
Before the presentation about the Alice Waters book, we broke for snacks. The hospitality committee had done a good job of decorating in the style of Chez Panisse, using items that they found at the Farmers' Market this morning.
I absolutely loved this idea for a candle holder on the main table.
(Of course with the price of artichokes these days, this could be a kind of pricy candle holder!)
All the food came from recipes found in Chez Panisse cookbooks, with little signs telling which recipe it was.
After we had been "snacked," the entertainment committee gave its presentation on the history of the restaurant, on Alice Waters, and on the program of bettering the food for school children.
But then came the fun part. They decided to give us all the "Chez Panisse Experience." They had picked up produce at the farmers' market and presented each table with a big tray of "stuff." Some had meat trays (a drawing of a cow or a sheep to accompany all the vegetables), some had vegetarian trays. We were to take 10 minutes or so to examine the ingredients on our trays and figure out how we would use it all in cooking a meal.
Our table had a vegetarian platter. Wouldn't you know I would be at the table with all those beets (which I hate) and kale, which I'm not too fond of!
To make it more fun, they even served wine.
Our tray also had cheese and rice on it and we decided we'd make a veggie risotto and use the rest in a salad. It really was a lot of fun. (My favorite table, though, announced they'd decided to keep the lamb as a pet and cook the veggies.)
When the meeting was over, I met with the hospitality committee for next month to do an inventory of the kitchen so we know what we need to get. They had asked me if I could join the committee for that one meeting and I'm enjoying getting a little more involved. We also had to sign up for committees for next year and lord help me, my friend Sue talked me into doing the entertainment for the March meeting with her (which she promises is a short entertainment program!)
Maybe this club will end up being a good thing after all!
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