Cooking Club Veteran Offers Advice for Your Own Gourmet Gatherings

by | Mar 2019

Edina cooking club member and home chef Kim Sabow

Photo: Becky Hollenkamp

Edina resident Kim Sabow used to work for a Boston based investment firm. Her job meant that she traveled every week … and ate a lot of meals in restaurants.

“When I finally quit to raise a family, all I ever wanted was to eat a home cooked meal,” Sabow says. So, she started taking cooking classes and reading cook books and just immersing herself in the art and science of cooking. Her interest turned into a passion and her passion made her want to share her love of cooking and food with others. That’s when she decided to start a gourmet group.

“We are eight people who get together every other month and cook a meal and pair each course with a bottle of wine. The host sets the theme and selects most of the recipes. Someone else researches the wine and we all cook … the host generally does the entrée,” she says.

The group has had more members at different times over the years, and has met more often, but Sabow says that trial and error has led them to their current set-up. Eight people is a manageable number to get around one table and recipes don’t have to be tripled or quadrupled. And every other month makes getting a day that works with everyone’s schedule less stressful.

She says that many current members of the gourmet group met each other when their children were in school together. “Most of us know one another from the years our children went to the Normandale French Immersion School.”

Sabow says that she reads cookbooks in bed at night and still subscribes to several cooking magazines. “I know you could find the recipes online now, but I still like to hold the magazines in my hands and mark the recipes and save them for later.”

Once she gets interested in a recipe she may cook it several times until she gets it just right. A few years ago, there was a recipe for a cake in Cooking Light Magazine that she made several times and it just didn’t work. She called them and told them she couldn’t figure out what she was doing wrong and wondered if someone could talk to her and help her. It turned out that there was a mistake in the recipe. “They were really embarrassed, but I felt better knowing that it wasn’t something I was doing wrong,” she says.

The gourmet group has been an outlet for exploring new recipes and different types of cuisine and cooking styles.

“People who join a group like this need to have an adventurous palate,” she says. “A willingness to try something at least once is important if you’re going to enjoy the experience.”

The menus are usually organized around a theme like “Fall Harvest” or “Spring Produce.”

“One month the theme was grilling and everything we had was cooked on the grill,” she says, “even the salad.”

Sabow says that if you’re interested in starting a gourmet group of your own you should think about a few things: “My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you are joining with people who love to cook and to eat.” But she also says you can’t overlook the practical considerations like blending schedules… “it definitely gets easier to get together when everyone’s kids get older.” And, if possible, try to create a club with people who live near each other. “It’s especially important during a Minnesota winter not to have too far to travel.”

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