The Art of Experiencing Stories

Themed meals add flavor to the club. 

Our Classical Literature Club enjoys sharing a meal when we get together for our book club. The practical reason we do this is to help us experience the world the author has created for us. Another reason is to get to know each other better.

 

Sharing a meal draws us closer to the author’s world.

Eating foods described in the book or typical foods eaten in country where the book is set draws us a little closer to the world the author has created. A full meal isn’t necessary to make connections to the book. You can have snacks, desserts, or bread and tea. There isn’t a perfect plan for sharing food around a book study. This frees us up to make the food connection fit our lifestyle, friends, and home. If we choose to have a full meal, it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. The foods can be premade from the grocery store, homemade delights, or a mixture of the two. The main idea is to create a menu that helps everyone experience the culture and setting the author has created for us. Here is a copy of a menu my club used for The Old Man in the Sea, by Ernest Hemmingway.

Sharing a meal draws us closer together.

It’s been my experience that those who eat together know each other better. Sounds corny I know but I always seem to know a person better after we share a meal. We have better conversations the next time we’re together.  For a literature club to grow strong the members need to be connected. One of the academic goals of my literature club is to build critical thinking skills. In order to do this the kids need to participate in book discussions. The more accepting the environment, the easier it is to share. Eating together breaks down barriers and build relationships. This in turn helps us feel more willing to talk during the discussions. Eating together gives us an opportunity to create bonds that make our academic goals easier to obtain.

How does sharing a meal, a cup of tea or coffee affect your friendships?

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Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

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Comments

  1. What an excellent idea. I never thought about the food side of a novel. Hmmm. I'll have to suggest this to my friend's reading group.

    As for sharing meals or coffee? Yep, they totally affect my relationships. You just seem to relax when you're sitting around a table or sipping a hot beverage. It's as if you're in a different world and only those at the table with you are there. I love having coffee or lunch with friends because it takes away the distractions of every day – kids, laundry, errands, etc. I feel like I can give them 100% of ME.

    You know, I'm going to call up a girlfriend right now and make a lunch date!

    • You make a good point about losing the distractions of work if you go to a coffee shop or out to lunch. I like that too. If your friend tries having food along side her novel discussions have her drop me a note. I'd love to hear how it goes. We love it!

  2. Your book club sounds like so much fun. If I lived close, I would join.

    I agree that you learn more about people when you invite them into your home for a meal. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is invite friends and family over for a cook-out but later we grab our lawn chairs and sit around an outdoor fire after dark. There's something about the stars, the breeze rustling the trees and the distant howling of a coyote that encourages relaxed conversations that brings us all closer.

  3. I absolutely agree. Shared meals are as old as humanity, and we instinctively gather together over a meal. Maybe we have a genetic memory of the need to gather around the fire for safety and warmth. Maybe it's because in order to eat we have to be still, so once gathered we stay gathered, and begin to share. I don't know. I love the idea of using food in your book club not only to share with one another, but to 'gather' with the story itself. Inspired by you, I'm going to try that myself.

  4. I do enjoy going out to eat with a friend. It's more relaxing because no one has the stress or awkwardness of playing hostess in their own place.

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