Library Launches An Edible Book Club

Remnant BrewingRemnant Brewing. Photo by Irina M. / IM Creative Photography.

Part book club, part potluck, the latest event series from the Somerville Public Library promises to build community around cookbooks.

Each meeting of the Supper Club will focus on a particular cookbook from the library’s collection. Attendees will select recipes from it to cook, and together the club will get to eat its way through the book.

“It definitely offers something new,”  says Lilly Sundell-Thomas, programming and outreach librarian. “The participants get to have a meal together, which I think is something that’s really special. In a way, it’s more of a community-building event than a book club, but of course, we’re the library, so we always bring it back to books.”

Supper Club

The Supper Club’s January cookbook. Photo courtesy of Lilly Sundell-Thomas.

The Supper Club will meet at Remnant Brewing (2 Bow Market Way) on the last Monday of each month. The cookbook for the first meeting—scheduled for Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.—is “Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy Favorites” by Deb Perelman. Sundell-Thomas and Reference Librarian Meg Ragland say they chose the book because it’s “approachable” and has both easier and more complicated recipes.

Going forward, attendees will choose each month’s cookbook through a poll in the event’s Facebook page. The options for February’s meeting all relate to a New England theme, according to Ragland and Sundell-Thomas.

The librarians behind the event series both have a love of food and have worked in various restaurants and cafes—Ragland even works as a freelance culinary history researcher—and view the book club as a way to engage people while also promoting the library’s cookbook selection.

“We thought it would be a great way to highlight our cookbook collection, but also we’re really interested in doing community-oriented programming here,” Sundell-Thomas says. “We’ve collaborated with the folks down at Bow Market in the past, so we thought this would be another nice way to reach parts of the community that don’t have a physical library. Union Square is pretty close to our central branch, but we definitely like to get out into the community.”

Interested in attending? RSVP to Ragland at at least one week before the meeting. The Central Library’s reference desk has a copy of the cookbook that people can photocopy recipes from, and soon there will be copies for checkout.