by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS
Few people associate bookstores with intimate potluck dinners, food blogging or local food critics. Yet Browsers Bookshop has been quietly building a reputation for just that with its seasonal Cookbook Club: an intimate dinner event where lovers of the culinary craft gather to share delicious food, recipes and insightful conversation among its walls of books. This month, Browsers Bookshop will host the Fall Edition of the Cookbook Club, featuring Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelmen.
“Cookbooks can root us in ‘the everyday,’” said Andrea Griffith, owner of Browsers Bookshop and co-host of the Cookbook Club. “We write in our cookbooks; we write the date, what we thought, what we used … they become a record of our lives.”
Along with Griffith, local food blogger and professional writer Kelli Samson hosts the Cookbook Club each season. Griffith and Samson started the club in summer 2016 after realizing they had a strong, mutual passion for cooking. “The Cookbook Club is where our interests align,” said Griffith. “And we have the perfect space for it at Browsers. The club brings disparate people together, but we have a unifying interest: we all love food. There’s something special about sharing a meal with people.”
Each Cookbook Club event includes a potluck-style gathering, in which attendees share recipes and food from a featured cookbook and roundtable discussions meant to “center the conversation on the importance and role that food plays in our lives,” said Griffith. While previous events only allowed for 12 guests, Griffith and Samson have increased the number to 18 over time to accommodate growing interest for the event among the community.
Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelmen is the featured cookbook for this fall’s Cookbook Club gathering. The book includes over 100 recipes, each accompanied by photographs taken by the author (who is a self-taught cook and photographer) and meant for busy people who aren’t willing to sacrifice flavor for quality.
“Kelli and I both love Smitten Kitchen, The Smitten Kitchen blog, and Deb Perelmen and what she’s created,” said Griffith. “We swing back and forth between the-everyday-types of cookbooks, like Smitten Kitchen Every Day, and books with more involved recipes. Swinging back and forth between reality and cooking as art is important to us.” Smitten Kitchen Every Day was published in October 2017.
What: Fall Edition of the Cookbook Club
Where: Browsers Bookshop
107 Capitol Way N, Olympia
When: 7:00 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9
How much: free (participants must have sign up to attend)
Learn more: 360-357-7462 | Browsers Bookshop