What is a Plant-based Supper Club?

You’re curious. Your interest is piqued. How does a plant-based supper club differ from your run-of-the-mill potluck? Well, it doesn’t differ that much, really. Anyone is welcome to participate as long as they observe two rules: 1) All the dishes are plant-based–that means no meat, eggs or dairy, and 2) Everyone is nice–that means no one ever feels left out even if they don’t know anyone else. As far as the mechanics go, or what actually happens between this…

And this…

Well, let’s go through it.

We gather at 6 p.m. While we are waiting for everyone to arrive, we go outside or stand around the fire and have a drink. This can be either pomegranate green tea or red wine or whatever others have brought. If it is your first time, you don’t have to bring anything. Just come and eat! By the way, you don’t have to be a full-time, plant-based eater to participate. In fact, only two or three diners are.

About 6:30 or 6:45, after we’ve photographed the food, we gather at the table. Or should I say ‘groaning board.’

Time to dig in!

What exactly are we eating? Well, everything is marked, including any potential allergy information that would be helpful: corn, soy, mushrooms, nuts, gluten. Here’s what we had in August.

For starters: cashew-almond nut cheese with fresh vegetables, hummus, peppered banana chips, roasted tomatoes with macadamia nut cheese.

Main dishes included: brown rice and tofu salad with shiitake mushrooms, pesto Israeli couscous, raw cucumber avocado soup, vegan mock tuna salad sandwiches, chana masala and upma.

On the side, we had: roasted potatoes with Indian spices, chopped salad, cucumber cilantro salad, watermelon pistachio salad, maple-roasted brussel sprouts, garden salad with tarragon ranch dressing, roasted potatoes–onions–peppers, and garlic-infused beets.

For dessert, there was: Key lime and banana ‘cream’ pies, coconut-strawberry tarts, banana bread cake with peanut butter frosting and brown sugar blondies.

Here’s what it looked like.

Here’s what a plate looks like in the late summer sunlight… Of course we ate outside!

Now comes the hard part–eating and socializing at the same time. At this supper club, probably one quarter of the people who came were new, but everyone found pleasant dining companions. Even after we ran out of chairs!

Because it is so laid-back, there is usually time for contemplating your life in a glass of wine,

taking a tour of the house or the garden

Impromptu reunions–these crazy people rode their bikes from Grand Rapids to Chicago in 2011!

Or discussing the many culinary possibilities for say, puffball mushrooms.

Is the food good? Will you get enough to eat? Well, we aim to be a zero waste party, so that means we compost the food scraps and napkins. Honestly, we never have more than a pailful to compost.

There are always contingencies, of course, but everyone collaborates to get the job done. At this dinner, for example, Tillie the Terrible German shepherd ran away twice during the party. But Beth Leeson helped me look for her and Morgan Doane, Medha Kosalge and Sara Schneider took over my photographer duties. Thank you! And thank you to everyone who helps clean up!

So there you have it. If you live in the Grand Rapids area and you are interested in attending, simply email me at stirthepotgr@gmail.com. Participants, feel free to add your two cents. Here is your chance to vote for (and cajole) the makers of your favorite dishes.


3 thoughts on “What is a Plant-based Supper Club?

  1. Everything was delicious, as usual! If I have to choose a “fav”, I’m going with the cucumber soup in the little cups. I only got an itty-bitty piece of brussels sprout because I was too busy gabbing to get in line. I’d be happy to have ANY of the recipes from that evening!

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