Whether your book discussion group spends the night earnestly discussing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or descends into drunken shit-talking before you get to Chapter 2 of Gone Girl, one thing is for certain: No one wants your fucking hearty stew. If you’re looking for a way to get slowly phased out of your book club and your friend group, why not step up your “that’s not really a snack” game? Here are four seasonal stews whose unwieldy presence at book club ensures that Marcia “forgets” to include you on next month’s Doodle poll:
Barley and watercress bisque
Flavorless while maintaining an acidic mouthfeel, this bisque, affectionately known as “Hot Compost” in its native Maine, is a great way to use up all that watercress from your farm share. This one-pot miracle won’t just stick to your ribs – it’ll stick to everything it comes in contact with! The barley creates a paste that clings to all Marcia’s bowls and between the steamiest pages of The Time Traveler’s Wife, prompting everyone to simultaneously realize you’re “not really book club material.”
Wild mushroom goulash
Be sure to mention how nutritious this spicy blend of soft vegetables is while you hoist the crock pot through Marcia’s front door and plunk it down on top of the beautiful fruit and cheese platter that she got from Whole Foods. Serve this goulash in Marcia’s little ramekins as you ask everyone to “pitch in” by passing them around the table. Everyone will quietly accept their goulash, but when you’re in the bathroom someone will be like, “I really just wanted to eat the snacks that Marcia set up for us,” and everyone will agree that it’s time you inflict your stew on some other hobby-based group.
This classic recipe might warm your bones on a chilly night, but nobody will like you when you spill an entire tureen all over Marcia’s stuffed grape leaves. “I found myself very invested in the part of The Goldfinch where the protagonist brings an inappropriate food-drink hybrid to an informal gathering,” Marcia will say through gritted teeth, raising her eyebrows across the room at June. That doesn’t happen in the book, but everyone will get it. They’ll be moving this to Sandy’s house without telling you in no time.
Southwestern Beef stew
Make this Tex-Mex twist on a childhood favorite before discussing The Elegance of The Hedgehog, and enjoy lively debate about how the prison of social expectation keeps people from living their best lives as you slurp the mess you brought to this implied snacking event. Marcia will have plenty of time to contemplate the messages of the novel as the aroma lingers in her foyer for days afterward, mingling with the smell of her favorite sandalwood candle until she hates the smell of sandalwood almost as much as she hates you.
Any of these delicious party fouls will have your Tuesday night freed up faster than you can say, “Hey Marcia, I’m not interested in coming to book club anymore.”