Food Club 101: Starting a Food Club

10/13/13

Food Club. I have watched this phrase stop people in their conversational tracks. “Wait, what’s a Food Club? How did it start? Can I come too?”

My Food Club began when I realized that not everyone was as obsessed with food as I am. I was raised in what I refer to as a “food family.” Perhaps you were too? You know you are in a food family when at every meal, you are discussing either the food you are eating, food you have eaten in the past, or food that will be at the next gathering.

I can plan food, eat food, discuss food, cook food, and read about food for hours. I can tell you that when I read books, I reread sections that over-describe food. I can tell you that in A Wrinkle in Time, the brother and sister sit down to liverwurst-and-cream-cheese sandwiches, because THAT WAS MY FAVORITE PART OF THAT BOOK. Yes, they get to travel through time and space but how about those sandwiches? And guess what? I don’t even like liverwurst, but I like reading about it.

And The Shining! Hallorann gives Danny and Wendy a tour of the walk in freezer: “You’ve got fifteen rib roasts, thirty ten-pound bags of hamburger, we got twelve turkeys, about forty chickens, fifty sirloin steaks, two-dozen of pork roasts, and twenty legs of lamb.” And then the pantry. I love hearing his fantastic voice:

The Overlook may be possessed, but they sure have a fine selection of meats, cereal and canned goods.

Also, if you have never read Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, go to the library and just read it through once. Do not be fooled by the recent movies of the same name. The book has amazing drawings of the town blessed with food and drink falling from the sky.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

I desperately wanted to be transported there as a sixth-grader, even when the split pea soup fog rolled into town. Also a good one: The Animals go to the Supermarket. Enough with reading, let’s talk eating.

My husband, Bill, is the most wonderful man and a ridiculous amount of fun to be with. And to his credit, he will try many things for me when I cook or if we go out somewhere new. However, he doesn’t enjoy Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Greek, Polish or German cuisines. Polish and German are a couple of my favorites. My last name is Levicki and my mother’s maiden name was Krach, so this stuff is in my blood! I frequently came home from grade school to find chicken paprikash with spaezels, cabbage rolls, or stuffed green peppers being prepared for dinner. And I personally love a piece of veal hammered paper thin, soaked in buttermilk, lightly fried and served with gravy. While Bill and I were covering the bases on American, Chinese, Italian and Mexican together, I still needed to satisfy my worldly hunger.

So, in January of 2012, I decided to reach out to friends so we could explore everything that culinary Columbus has to offer. Our current club consists of myself, Vanessa, Bailey, Mike, Derek, Pat, with a couple of guest stars: Becker and Bill.

When organizing a Food Club, I recommend:

1. A total of 6-8 members. Small enough that most restaurants can easily accommodate you, but large enough to ensure a good turn out even if one or two members have to miss a meeting.

2. Set a list early on and let each person make their pick in rotation. Consider special extra meet ups for holiday meals, special events in your community, etc.

3.Set your next meeting date while you are all together at the current meal. Believe me, trying to coordinate 8 calendars by email is not going to be your favorite part of this venture.

4. Be open to other members picks! The point is to explore new places or expose your club to some of your old favorites. Everyone should be willing to try new things, everyone should be able to find something to eat wherever you go.

5. Tell the server you will each be on different checks upfront to avoid confusion at the end of a lovely meal.

6. Bonus points: keep track of all meeting in a journal, note the date, who’s pick it was and who attended (see below). Also, feel free to send interesting foodie articles out to your club for discussion at the next meeting. If they don’t know what a cronut is, you could be the one to bring it into their world!

Columbus Food Club Established 01.07.2012

01.07.2012 Lac Viet
02.04.2012 Schmidt’s
02.24.2012 Akai Hana
03.17.2012 Yellow Brick Pizza
03.23.2012 Taj Mahal
04.16.2012 Thai Orchid
05.12.2012 Knead
06.10.2012 Starliner Diner
06.21.2012 Cafe Istanbul
07.07.2012 Moy’s
07.18.2012 Pizza House
08.12.2012 Flip Side Burger
08.30.2012 Explorer’s Club
09.12.2012 Happy Greek
10.13.2012 Si Senor
10.30.2012 Tai’s Asian Bistro
11.10.2012 Der Dutchman
12.06.2012 Betty’s (Holiday Feast)
12.28.2012 Ringside
01.12.2013 Aab India
01.24.2013 Akai Hana
02.05.2013 Lavash
02.15.2013 Barley’s Smokehouse
02.28.2013 Natalie’s Coal Fire Pizza
03.13.2013 Pint Room
04.12.2013 Chile Verde
04.28.2013 Katalina’s
05.09.2013 Carfagna’s
05.18.2013 Katzinger’s
06.11.2013 Wing’s
07.18.2013 Yanni’s
08.12.2013 Flip Side Burger
09.15.2013 Sage
10.03.2013 The Crest Tavern

We have had 34 meetings so far over the past 22 months. Members have come into the group, some have moved on or have left Columbus (hopefully they will begin their own out-of-state Food Club soon!). I have no idea how long this will go on for but I know I will keep meeting up as long as there are willing members. How else will I satisfy my need to discuss who has the best burger in town, how to correctly eat pho or the miracle that is Katalina’s Nutella Pancake Ball?



Cake n Carrie
Carrie Levicki lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Bill and her rabbit Woodruff Wilson.