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Start a Club of Your Own

A guide to the care―and feeding―of a supper club

Take a little time at that first meeting to agree on your club's basic structure. Will you rotate houses and have potlucks? Or will you cook all or some of each meal together? Remember to exchange contact information.

Selecting a theme such as Comfort Foods or Mexican inspires club members to try out new recipes.

Remember why you're there. What makes supper clubs most enjoyable is how supportive the members are of one another's cooking.

Plan to meet when you have more time to relax, such as a Friday or Saturday night. That way, you can relax and visit some. And keep in mind that anyone, regardless of skill level, can join in the prep work.

Tips from the Pros

Allow time for the group to click. It took Amy Fong's group three meetings to feel really comfortable.

Keep talking. "I think communication is key, and the nature of a supper club makes it imperative that everyone has functional e-mail," says Diana Wilder, a member of a club near Hartford, Connecticut.

Set standards. "It's important to have some nearly set-in-stone things to work around," says Wilder. "In the Hartford supper club's case, the second Tuesday of the month is meeting day, and as it approaches, people can start considering what to do."

Remember that dividends pay off. "We now all bring empty Tupperware dishes to each dinner so we can take home all the yummy leftovers," says Becky Molloy of her Cincinnati supper club.