It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I’m not so sure.

I’m hosting our neighborhood book club meeting next week, and the book we’re reading this month is one I wrote. It includes 30 of my columns from the Chanhassen Villager – most of them dealing with nuggets of insight and inspiration that can be found in everyday life.

Our book club meetings begin with lunch at noon, followed by the book discussion. Since several of my columns mention different foods and beverages, I decided to include some of them in the luncheon menu.

A column about friendship and camaraderie came from the day several friends and I helped another friend slice, dice, and chop the ingredients for a gigantic fruit salad for her daughter’s graduation party the next day. So, of course, a fruit salad will be on my menu next week. Another column makes a passing reference to “that taco thing.” That’s actually how my family refers to one of our favorite meals – whose official name is Enchiladas El Paso. Although it’s more appropriate for dinner than for a ladies luncheon, I’m putting it on the menu anyway. And a column about yoga refers to the lotus position as “the Pretzel Pose,” so pretzels will be one of the snacks I’ll serve.

Those were easy, but I’m a little nervous about the cheesecake dessert. I’ve made it only once before, when we had friends over for dinner, and there were a few moments while I was preparing it that I was afraid we’d be eating cheesecake soup for dessert. The column it inspired was focused on the fact that the most important part of the dinner wasn’t the food, but the friends with whom we were sharing it – although the cheesecake turned out fine after all.

But that brings us to the fortune cookies. One of my favorite columns – not just in the book, but in the 15 years I spent writing for the Villager – was inspired by a fortune cookie I once got at a Korean restaurant. The fortune said, “You see beauty in everyday things. Treasure this gift.” So how could I not put fortune cookies on the menu? Especially since I’ve written out fortunes that I think represent all of my book club friends. And since I’ve had a recipe for fortune cookies in my files since 1981, although I’ve never tried it till now.

It was not a pretty sight. My first attempt produced cookies that were burnt on the edges and soft in the middle, and that cracked when I tried to fold them into their proper shape. The few that survived ended up looking like the baked version of a paper circle folded into quarters.

I’m going to keep trying, though. I hope they’ll turn out, but even if they don’t, I’m pretty confident the day will be a success. After all, the most important part of the meeting isn’t the food, or even the book we’ll be discussing.

It’s the friends with whom I’ll be sharing it.

November 10, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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