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Italian Regional Feast, Wine, Cooking & Culture Group Pages

Let’s remember that these “feasts” are not simple dinners, but rather are intended to embody the attributes of generosity and goodwill that define the Italian spirit. We thank you for your participation! It must be emphasized that unlike most "meetup" groups, more than a "casual" interest is expected.

To attend, please write to me through the web site or at, after the menu for each dinner is posted. It is not possible to use the "RSVP" system.

A successful feast is a collaborative effort between the group organizers and the members contributing to the dinner. Given the nature of the dinners, and that we are all cooking for one another, it is important to honor your commitment. As you can imagine, cancellations late in the week before a dinner can be problematic if the group is depending on you to make a dish. It may be difficult or impossible to find someone to take on the additional cooking on such short notice.

May I bring guests?
Yes, but it is best if everyone who wishes to attend becomes a member, so that all information about the dinner is available to them too. If you have friends visiting from out of town, for instance, you may bring them, but please bear in mind that they have to be treated the same as regular members and should contribute to the feast. If you do bring guests, then, please be sure to bring extra food (not just extra wine) or have the 'guest' (or you) prepare something else from the menu too, in addition to your original contribution, to keep the ratio of food to attendees in balance. Otherwise, we won't have sufficient amounts of food.

Please don't wait till the last minute to invite guests.

Just imagine if we have 15 members each bring two guests, that's a total of 45 people. If only the 15 'members' are cooking, we are way out of proportion (we won't have enough food to go around). Everyone attending needs to be accounted for and contribute, whether listed as 'guest' or 'member'. There really is no distinction between 'guests' and 'members' for the mathematics of the food/attendee ratio. That means that extra food (not just wine) needs to be provided by either you or your guests.

To make it simple, each person attending (whether 'guest' or 'member') should bring at least one bottle of wine for themselves and one two or three prepared dishes to serve 8-10 people. So, for example, if you are bringing two guests, that means you should bring at least three dishes (each scaled to 8-10 servings) and three bottles of wine for your party of three attendees.

Preparations for Cooking
After selecting your dish(es), begin reviewing the recipes to become familiar with them. Check out what is available at the grocers for your dish and confirm availability of your ingredients. Some items may need to be pre-ordered (especially some kinds of seafood). Based on past experience, we highly recommend not waiting until the last minute only to find out that you are unable to locate the items for your dish. Talk to the grocery counter people at the meat or fish counter to get what you need, if necessary. They will typically special order whatever you need. The new Market District stores in Kingsdale and on West 3rd Avenue are great to try if you run into any difficulty. They will help you.

When to Cook Your Dish
For those preparing fish, we highly recommend you 'prep' the fish at home but do not cook it until you reach the Columbus Italian Club. The fish dishes should be 'oven-ready' so that they can be placed into the oven shortly before serving, so that we can enjoy the fish at its best!

All other dishes (i.e., not the fish dishes), should be cooked part-way at home and then warmed up at the club as necessary. Do not overcook your dishes! Please bring your dish in some type of warmer, if possible. We will reheat as shortly before serving, as necessary. Following this plan will help tremendously to keep Club kitchen use to a minimum and keep everything as simple as possible.

How Early Should I Arrive?
As you know, the event is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. However, you are welcome to come anytime after 4:00 p.m. to have some vino, hang out at the club, watch, or help cook, or set up the room and tables. In fact, we do need help setting up the room and tables and would appreciate some volunteers. Please let us know either via email or posting on the group’s page if you plan to arrive somewhat early and can help set up the room and tables.

If you are bringing an appetizer, please arrive no later than 6:00, as we need to have the appetizers ready first.

Please do not just come into the kitchen when you first arrive, as others are already there cooking soups and appetizers. Simply place your dish in the staging area and wait until we announce the preparation for the courses. Otherwise we have chaos in the kitchen!

What Should I Bring?
Besides your dishes and wine, be sure to bring your own wine glasses, flatware and dishes. These items are not provided by the Columbus Italian Club. Fine food deserves fine dinnerware!

Be Sure to Buy Wine.
We cannot emphasize this enough, as wine is not supplied. There are wooden boxes of Italian regional wines on the floor at Gentile's set aside for us for each dinner. Although you are welcome to purchase your wine at other wine shops, not all Italian regional wines are widely distributed and some may be difficult to locate, or quantities may be limited and selection poor. For this reason, selecting your wine from those set aside at Gentile’s is the easiest way to ensure you are getting the correct regional wines, and at a good range of types and price points.

These dinners represent a fitting occasion to splurge and get a really nice bottle or two. Remember, this is a feast, so live it up a little!

After Dinner
We are guests of the Columbus Italian Club and should be helpful and courteous. A little cleaning up after the dinner is a greatly appreciated and yet another way to extend the goodwill that defines the Italian spirit. If everyone pitches in, clean-up should not take long, and soon we can return to relaxing, socializing and enjoying new friends. In the past, it has worked out best for everyone to spray off and clean their own dishes. Beyond this, we just ask for assistance with tables, chairs and trash—essentially, some basic 'tidying up.' The Club has brought in someone to do the more thorough cleaning, so it would be nice if we could pitch in a few dollars to defray the cost of this service.

After the dinner, everyone is welcome to hang around at the club to enjoy card games, play pool or darts, watch the big screen TV, dance, or just relax at the bar for after dinner drinks (cash bar; drinks are only $2.00!).

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About Italian Regional Feast, Wine, Cooking & Culture Group February 6, 2015 9:50 AM Mike

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