Less homework and more food? We're in.  

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Book clubs are the best excuse to get together with friends, eat some cheese straws, sip rosé, catch up on each other's lives and discuss great literature, if you happen to get around to it.

Here's the thing with book clubs: After a few meet-ups it usually becomes painfully obvious that even with the best intentions very few people have time to read the Next Great American Novel or Ron Chernow's latest historical tome. While some bookworm has always done the homework, most book clubs quickly devolve into gab sessions because no one else was able to get the reading done on time. Not being able to plow through a 400-page bestseller doesn't mean you have to—or want to—give up the get-together, though. If this all sounds vaguely familiar, instead of dropping out of book club, consider changing the genre to a cookbook club.

Cookbook clubs are like book clubs but with less homework and more food. One person chooses a cookbook, either a brand-new release, an old favorite by Julia Child or Edna Lewis, or whatever piques your interest and suits your fancy. (Here are a few suggestions.) Then the fun really gets going. Instead of reading 200 pages of eloquently written prose, everyone gets to cook something. Once the book is chosen, the other cookbook club members buy it from a local bookstore or borrow it from the library or even peek at their friend's copy and gets ready to start cooking.

As TheKitchn.com notes, cookbook clubs typically work in one of two ways. They can be a potluck, where everybody chooses which recipe they want to cook from the book and then shows up on the chosen date to share their dish. Other people choose to do cookbook club as a day of cooking, where friends show up armed with ingredients and ready to cook a meal together. Once the work is done, everyone sits down to eat as a group—or take the food home to store in the freezer for a lazy day. Either way, food is shared, recipes discussed, and the cookbook is either returned to the library or added to the collection as a new favorite.

Cookbook clubs serve the purpose of a book club with none of the guilt of not reading or the pressure of finishing a novel on time. Plus, while reading has many proven benefits, you simply can't eat what you learn unless you're reading a cookbook.

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