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

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

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

Remember why you're there. What makes supper clubs mostenjoyable is how supportive the members are of one another'scooking.

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

Tips from the Pros

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

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

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

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