Hosting Book Club

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again…..

In my book club, we have read some books that have been challenging (boring), fascinating, unforgettable, emotional, and adventurous. Sometimes we are able to serve some of the foods that are described in the book as our snack for the evening. For “Princess Bride” we ate plenty of chocolate and a chocolate “ball” that represented the “pill” that was made by Miracle Max for Westley to get him well again. For “A Day No Pigs Would Die” we snacked on bacon, crackers and cheese, and chocolate cake with nuts on top (you’ll have to read the book to figure that one out! Ewww…!) And for “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” we sampled cotton candy, popcorn, fruit kebabs, lemonade and other boardwalk goodies. However, this time we read the gothic romance and thriller, “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier, a gripping and suspenseful read.

We dined on tea items reminiscent of Manderly, the looming mansion described in the novel. Here was our menu and if you click on the highlighted words you will find the recipes…

On page 24 of “Rebecca” the protagonist is sipping her citronade explaining her unusual name to Mr. de Winter. Therefore we sipped lemonade and of course hot tea as well. Page 187 describes the visit the new Mrs. de Winter makes to her husband’s grandmother and with great joy it was “watercress day.” We joined them with these delicious (best egg salad I have ever had) Watercress and Egg Salad Sandwiches only I added 1/2 tsp. curry powder and served them closed. Early on in the book a foreshadow occurs describing the relationship between the soon to be Mrs. de Winter and Mr. de Winter while eating a sour tangerine. I transformed the sour dish into a sweet dish of St. Joe’s Oranges, recipe to follow. On page 10 the narrator describes how she is served ill carved ham due to her lowly status. We nibbled nicely carved Ham and Cream Cheese Pickles, a tasty finger food treat where salty meets creamy and crunchy. And then came the chocolate mention on page 87 and chocolate must always be copied. “Chocolate Bars, the easiest dessert and the most appreciated.” Susan, a fellow book club member and I blurted that little saying out at the same time. Jinx! But it is true, do not fuss over dessert, simply set out an array of chocolate bars on your prettiest plate and you will have happy guests. Plus it is du Maurier’s birthday today so chocolate was in order.

After each member discussed her thoughts on the book we had a little contest naming the un-named Mrs. de Winter. She is the narrator of the story and our low self-esteemed protagonist who does posses an unusual, lovely and fitting first name, but the author chose not to reveal it. We took it upon ourselves to reveal the poor gal’s name and here it is: Emilia. From this day forth the second Mrs. Maximilian de Winter is hereby Emilia de Winter. Has a nice ring, don’ it?

St. Joe’s Oranges
6 oranges, peel and pith removed
olive oil
fresh cracked black pepper

Slice oranges and arrange on pretty plate. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper. Serves 6-8.
Note- The above version is the sophisticated version. Here is how we make them most of the time. Leave the peel on and slice, then drizzle with vegetable oil and sprinkle with sugar. Everybody digs in and goes to town. They love peeling the “wheels” while eating. The name of this dish comes from my cousin Joe of California who created it.

I hope this has inspired you to either read “Rebecca”, join/start a book club or both. Happy Reading!

PS I’m in 2 book clubs- so much time, so little books.


  1. Kathleen
    Posted May 13, 2008 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    I was there, and it was wonderfully fun and we had the delicious food! This is a great blog, Jan! I’m going to be spending some time reading and trying out your recipes. I love your creativity. Thanks for making last night so special.

  2. Robin Sue
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    Kathleen- thanks for checking out my site. I had a great time at book club the other night and was so surprised that everyone liked the book, there is usually one or two who don’t. Visit again!

  3. addy
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    I can’t wait to try out the egg salad watercress sandwiches… I just discovered your site and am already drooling over so many things!

  4. Robin Sue
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

    addy- thanks for visiting, come often. The egg salad really was the best I ever had.

  5. Nicole
    Posted May 15, 2008 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    How fun! I want a book club again. I had one a few years back… pre-marriage, pre-kids, pre-startup business…. Maybe I can round some people up again.

    Your menus are so fun!

  6. Robin Sue
    Posted May 15, 2008 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    Nicole- Thanks, maybe once you get back from NY things will slow down enough for you to give it a go.

  7. Nicole
    Posted May 15, 2008 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    I hope so. The hard part is my husband is rarely home at a normal hour so I always have to find someone for the kids. I am so ready for some books!

  8. Jason Pfeifer
    Posted June 9, 2008 at 12:12 AM | Permalink


    We noticed that you were discussing book clubs in your blog. We have started a new online book club website where people can choose books, invite friends, and read and discuss books together. We are hoping for it to become an educational tool, and an online social space.

    It’s all pretty new and we are interested in having some people join, give it a try, and give us feedback on how they like it. Also, as we noticed that you have a blog, we are looking to see if anyone would like to review the site for us (good or bad) so we can get constructive feedback.

    You can get there at:

    My name is Jason, and if you have any questions or comments (good or bad) feel free to contact me


    Jason Pfeifer
    Community Manager

  9. Robin Sue
    Posted June 10, 2008 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    jason- thanks for the heads up, I will go to your site soon, I am a sucker for books, reading, and all involved!

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