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Jul 15, 2010 05:00 PM

Gourmet Group - Theme Idea - need feedback

We are going on our 8th year in my gourmet cooking club. We always do it potluck style, with the host setting the theme and making the main dish.
The format has gotten a bit stale, mostly in the picking of countries as the theme, so we have agreed to spice it up a bit.

I host next and had two theme ideas that are similar in concept.
Similar to Iron chef, we would all have one ingredient that we would have to use in our dishes.
My thoughts for that would be
Peaches(or other stone fruit), cinnamon, tomato, chocolate, or some sort of cheese

I feel like all of these (except maybe tomato) can easily translate to app, side, first course, main and dessert.

The more challenging theme would be iron chef meets chopped (or whatever)
Each person would have one common ingredient and two other ingredients (random) that they must use.
- Peaches, onions, basil (for app)
- Peaches, mint, milk (for side)
- Peaches, pork, leeks (main)
- Peaches, cinnamon, st. andre (dessert)

Any thoughts about these as themes?
Preference? Other suggestions for a main ingredient?

Love to hear feedback before i shock the group!

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  1. This sounds like fun! Since your group has been meeting for 8 years, I'm assuming they are accomplished cooks. The more challenging theme would certainly intrigue me (and spur my creativity!) My only suggestion with your list would be to replace leeks in the Main category with something else (peppers?). Leeks seem more autumnal to me and you've already used an allium (onion) in the app category.

      1. re: Passadumkeg

        I see that Passa's bringing the beverage!

        1. re: nofunlatte

          Why do you think they call me Keg?

          Bartlett's Estate Winery, Gouldsboro, Maine, try their semi dry Peach, they ship, tell Bob Mark sent ya.

      2. Well, if i were in your club I think personally I'd prefer the first variation of the theme with only the one ingredient. It allows me greater creativity and flexibility while still keeping things interesting. I think with the second option I'd feel a bit limited and perhaps even disappointed (as in "Well, I wanted to make X but since I had to use these other ingredients, I couldn't"). I also feel like the fewer ingeredients specified, the more likely it is the host (and others) may be suprised by what everyone chooses to make.

        I like peaches as they're in season right now and could easily travel through a multi-course meal. Again, if it were me, I'd love to see the main ingredient continue to be seasonal in future gatherings.

        1. Good to hear the feedback. Thank you.
          In thinking of it, does peach seem the best contender, seeing it is at the height of it's season?
          or does someone have another suggestion?