Book Clubs with Food, or Food Clubs with Books
by Saralyn Richard
Last week I was the honored guest (by Zoom) at a book club meeting where my first Detective Parrott Mystery novel was being discussed. MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT begins with a birthday party at a weekend retreat in the beautiful and lush Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania. A highlight of the weekend (aside from a murder) is the Saturday night dinner party—an elegant nine-course menu with wine pairings for every course.
This feast, I’m positive, is fit for royalty, or at least the Granthams in Downton Abbey, and certainly America’s one percent. To give you a peek, here are a few of the menu items: rack of lamb, bouillabaisse, halibut cheeks, and chocolate torte with ganache.
I offer subscribers to my newsletter these and other menu items with photos and recipes in a booklet entitled, Epicurean Feasts. Luckily, one of the foodies in the aforementioned book club subscribed, fell in love with the menu, and asked me if I would “attend” their book club meeting. Of course, I said yes, and I looked forward to sharing the evening with this spirited group.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how much these readers would immerse themselves in the book. The night of the meeting, I arrived through the link, and what I found was astounding. Everyone was dressed up as a particular character in the novel, which had been assigned to them in Secret Santa fashion. There were props throughout the house that matched items in the book. The replication of the meal from the party was particularly elegant, and I got to enjoy it sans calories!
The discussion of the book was no less exciting. These readers had gobbled up the story with the same gusto as they’d gobbled the food. They were full of detailed insights and questions and comments that delighted me no end.
This was not the first time a book club had replicated the MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT menu or dressed up as the characters, but each time this happens, I marvel at how delightful it is to witness one’s story in real life. In educational terms, what the readers had done was synthesize the story, using one of the highest levels of thinking.
I consider this the highest level of compliment for an author, and absolutely the most fun! As always, connecting with readers is the best part about being a writer.
If you’d like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter, check out my website, http://saralynrichard.com , click on subscribe, and I’ll send you a copy of Epicurean Feasts. The newsletter is full of fun opportunities and special offers, and the menu is simply to die for!
Award-winning author, Saralyn Richard was born with a pen in her hand and ink in her veins. A former educator, she loves connecting with readers. Her humor- and romance-tinged mysteries and children's book pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools.