My book club meets at my house this week.
For those who have missed or forgotten my previous tales from the dark-side, allow me to share my “book club novella.”
Prologue: My book club is made up of a very small group of women who, once upon a time, had children in the same preschool class. Today those same kids are freshmen in college! And, many books later, the moms are still meeting about six times a year to chat and vent and laugh and eat and, as our husbands have long suspected, rarely talk about the book.
Characters and Setting: The other ladies in my group are trim and fit; outwardly “normal.” Some have been on diets in the past, but I never remember them being very large to begin with. One gal is a runner and a vegetarian. One has done Weight Watchers. A third went on a healthy eating kick several years back while training for her first 5K. Another is an ice skater who teaches the sport to young kids and stays active that way. The sixth belongs to the same gym as me, takes lots of cycling classes, and walks her dog every day. When we get together, the gals eat. Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot. Sometimes they go for the junkiest of the junk; sometimes they only reach for the healthy options. I have given up trying to predict what food will sit uneaten and which will get scarfed down.
Chapter One: Book club for my group is never about the book. It is “gal pal” time. And, as with most social events, there is always food. Food that sits within hand’s reach for the hours we sit talking. Food that typically tempts and taunts me, front and center on my brain. Social eating is my dieting nemesis. In the past, I have attended book club when I have been eating well and I have attended when I was not eating so well. Rather what one might expect from a yo-yo dieter. I have gone and eaten little or nothing; I have gone and eaten only the healthiest of options if the hostess was kind enough to serve any; I have gone and overeaten or eaten things I later regretted; I have even gone and eaten with moderation and enjoyment.
The Plot Thickens: I over-think almost everything. Why should hosting book club be any different?! I like to have something for everyone – the person who might want to eat healthy, the chocoholic looking for a fix, the one who missed dinner and needs something more filling. And as someone who is culinarily challenged, I always stress out a bit about what I’m serving. I want it to taste good. I don’t want anyone to go away hungry or unsatisfied. And I don’t want anyone to think “Karen’s serving us diet food.” So last week I started planning the menu in my head: hummus, veggies, dip, nuts… so far all healthy. And all “on plan” for the hostess:) But I know someone will want something sweet. So, what to serve? Something yummy but something that I myself won’t find so tempting that I potentially both overeat it that night and then can’t find the willpower to toss the leftovers! Something easy to make, like cookies. Is there a cookie I can bake that I don’t myself like? Me thinks not. Is there any “easy for the unskilled baker” dessert that will taste great to others but not to me? What to make, what to make?
The Last Page: My house, my control. I do love to be in control:) My house, my food choices. Mine, mine, mine. Maybe I’ll put aside my need to impress with homemade goodness and go with a store-bought treat. So… I won’t live up to the Martha Stewart-like standards of my book club cohorts… but I also won’t have batter to tempt me or a delectable aroma wafting from my oven. And I’ll do my best to pick something that appeals to me least. No molasses crinkles, no chocolate chips, no coconut, no, no, no. I know! Nuts! As in “I’m not a big fan of cookies or brownies or cakes or pies with nuts.” Not as in “I’m going nuts just thinking about this.” Although that’s true too:(
Epilogue: And, because I know some of you will ask, the book we read was Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. I didn’t much care for it. But I have read several other good ones lately that I can recommend: Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt, Catch Me by Lisa Gardner, and Oath of Office by Michael Palmer.
Any good reads you’d recommend? Are you part of a book club? Have you ever met a cookie you didn’t like?