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First Timer's Guide to Gourmet Group

Gourmet Group is a wonderful way to meet new people and make friends, or to enjoy a great meal with old friends.  However, if is your first time, here is your guide to how it is organized and how to figure out what works and what doesn't for your group.  Please note that although I use the word "couple" below, singles are also welcome participants, so really the word "contributor" is a better description. 

Group composition:

Groups are typically assigned based on some common interest or friends.  For example, we try to group people who have children of similar ages or are empty nesters together, as they are likely to have more in common.  LIkewise, if you are a couple who likes to keep the party going long into the night, we will try to find a group where you would fit in well.

What do do when you are assigned:  

You should reach out to the other members of your group and introduce yourself(s) and let them know how best to reach you.    One member of your group will need to take the initiative and start organizing dinner dates. 

Dinners and menus: 

There will be five menus delivered per year (from September to June), but you are under no obligation to do all of them if you can't find dates that work (after all, we are all busy people).  My group has found that we are often doing the fifth dinner in the summer because we can only find four dates during the rest of the year.  Each menu will be set up to be broken into 5 parts, usually:
    1. Appetizer / Soup
    2. Side dish / Salad
    3. Main course
    4. Dessert
    5. Wine/beer/drinks (sometimes there are specialty drinks from a particular cuisine)

Where to find recipes

Recipes and  will always be posted on the CC Neighbors  site, on this page: Gourmet Group Recipes.  There is a discussion area where you can post questions, discuss the recipes, etc as well.  

Organizing: 

Most groups use Doodle polls (www.doodle.com) to schedule their meals.  It does require that each couple respond in a timely way, but other than that is pretty simple.  In my group, we try to schedule two dinners at a time because it is less work to do 3 polls than 5. 

Who hosts:

The concept of the Gourmet Group is that responsibilities rotate, so that for each dinner you would make a different part of the meal, and you would host one time.  Normally, the host makes the entree, but that is not hard and fast, and you can do what your group prefers. The typical rotation looks like this:

Some groups will need to adjust if there are only four couples (suggest doubling someone up on appetizers and sides), but here is the standard five couple rotation:

Standard Rotation Menu #1 Menu #2 Menu #3 Menu #4 Menu #5
Couple A Entree (host) Wine/Drinks Dessert Appetizer Sides
Couple B Sides Entree (host) Wine/Drinks Dessert Appetizer
Couple C Appetizer Sides Entree (host) Wine/Drinks Dessert
Couple D Dessert Appetizer Sides Entree (host) Wine/Drinks
Couple E Wine/Drinks Dessert Appetizer Sides Entree (host)

You will decide who is couple A, B, C, etc. but it needs to be consistent during the year.  If you only have four couples, the suggested thing is for the wine/drinks to be rotated around (it is just purchasing, see cost in the next section), perhaps to the host each time, as it is less schlepping that way.

Cost: 

Each group decides how they apportion costs for the meals based on the preferences of the group membership.

Other questions:

Please use the discussion group

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