Cookbook Club – Why Gathering is as Nourishing as Food

Lisa gathered us to share recipes from the perfectly named cookbook Gather by David Robertson. David owns the Dirty Apron Cooking School in Vancouver. If you get the chance to take part in one of his interactive, social cooking classes, you will not be disappointed. When I did a short stint in Vancouver, a friend and I did one of his Italian classes and it was one of the most memorable experiences I have had. It is a learn-to-cook, meet-up, dinner date all wrapped in a delicious bow.


On a cool December night in Pemberton, a group of sisters (figuratively, not literally, although I’d be cool if any of these dynamo women were actually my sisters) gathered to share food, share ideas, share music, share stories and to share love.


Upon arriving to the warm glow of the farmhouse, there was a wonderful buzz, a positive energy in the excitement to unveil our nourishing dishes. Lisa kicked off the evening with a welcome. A welcome that set the tone to deepen our connections with each other, to be part of the sisterhood of this gathering. Lisa shared a story of “sistering” – a carpenter’s term to provide extra support to a weaker joist or strengthening a load-bearing beam. Our gathering is more than nourishing our bellies. It is also about nourishing our souls. It is about creating space to hold each other up, higher, stronger than when we all arrived – sistering.


Eager to dive into the incredible dishes prepared with thoughtfulness, love and creativity, each person introduced themselves and the dishes they prepared. Stories started to emerge during the introductions and it was fascinating to hear how each person approached their dish. Living in a small town, several people agreed that there were challenges with certain dishes due to the shortage or absence of a key ingredient – a spice never heard of before or a hard-to-find-bean. Modifications became essential and there were some amazingly creative types in the group that approached their chosen recipe more as a rough guideline than a must-follow-rulebook. Full disclosure: cooking for guests is stressful, especially a brand new recipe and I needed to follow my recipe to its exact instructions, that way if the soup was a disaster, I could just blame the recipe.


Introductions completed, tummies growling, anticipation building, it was time to dive in. The Food. The food was unbelievable. The Flavours. The flavours were diverse, layered, complicated yet simple. The Options. The options were unlimited – there was something for everyone. The People. The people made the evening divine. Nothing to see here – just a bunch of warrior women meeting, quietly conquering the world, through food. The Conversation. If you paused for a moment while savouring a morsel of deliciousness, you could hear the hum of stories being told, recipe ideas being shared, connections being created.

To Gather: the dry dictionary definition states “bring or come together”, “pick or collect as harvest”, “infer or deduce”.  After our evening gathering, here’s my definition. To Gather: “to come together to nourish each other through food, conversation, connection. To share a love for food, a love for life. To build a sisterhood.”


It was the kind of evening that one does not want to end. And when it did, gracious thank yous were shared, heart-felt goodbyes were reluctantly made and each of us headed to our homes, bellies full, hearts filled. Upon arriving at home, my husband inquired as to which dish was my favorite. Cheeky guy – I’m not falling for that “who’s your favorite kid” trick question. I told him about the dishes, the immense flavours, the quality of company. I tried to explain sistering but quickly realized that this gathering was not something to be explained, rather, to be experienced. So, I summed the evening to him by saying “A gathering of amazing women, what could be better than that”?