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Readers Digest: A cookbook for book clubs  

The Book Club CookbookIn winter, the universal vision of cozy is curling up with a good book and a warm beverage. Do that, but ask a few pals to read the same book. When you’ve finished, make an event of getting together to talk about it.

Book clubs continue to grow in popularity. They’re a great way to socialize and get some intellectual stimulation. Thank Oprah’s book club selections and websites like and, which offer lots of book suggestions and tools to manage the meets.

But for ideas on what to eat, check out  If you’re a foodie and a book lover, this site offers an index of dishes that could let you decide what to read based on what you’d like to eat. Got a taste for spicy lamb burgers? Read Michele Scott’s “A Vintage Murder.” Scott even suggests a 2006 Shiraz to complement the meal. If cocktails are your thing, read “The Adults” by Alison Espach and shake up some Dirty Martinis. Many of the recipes, which go from ap- petizers to desserts, are provided by the more than 70 authors featured on the site.

Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, the authors of the website, are also authors of “The Book Club Cookbook” (Penguin Group, $21.95). With the website and the cookbook, the two friends combine their passion for books, food and book clubs. The cookbook taps popular and more recent books such as Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” (caramel cake recipe below) and Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (Swedish meatballs) as well as school reading list classics such as Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth” (scallion-ginger fried rice) and Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” (wild mushrooms on toast).

Caramel cake

The cookbook’s 100 featured books, and thus its recipes, reflect a variety of cultural experiences. Among them: Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes” (Irish brown soda bread), Gloria Naylor’s “Mama Day” (peaches and cream pie), Willa Cather’s “My Antonia” (spiced plum kolaches pastry) and Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” (tandoori shrimp).

With the summary of each book, there is an explanation of why its recipe was chosen. Members of various book clubs, who exchange ideas on, also share discussion topics and recipes. The cookbook indexes books by genre, cultural themes, and literary prizes.

Click on the caramel cake to go to the recipe.

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