By Christina Lee
If Martha Stewart is the PTA mom who scoots over everyone’s bake-sale brownies so she can showcase her genoise cake with chocolate-Armagnac glaze, the Loulies ladies are the trusted friends always passing along easy, yummy recipes and helpful kitchen tricks.
Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon foster the welcoming feel of www.Loulies.com—a mini-media empire garnering plenty of daily visitors (the site’s growing popularity prompted the two former publishing editors to focus on Loulies full time) and over a thousand e-newsletter subscribers.
The Loulies founders, both transplants to Washington, D.C., met at a cocktail party in Virginia. Stern later invited Simon to her new cookbook club where their friendship—along with their reputation as “mavens of information”—grew.
“People always asked, ‘What do I make for a dinner party? How do you use this ingredient?’” Simon says. “We started the website to make it easier to pass on tips to others who could use them in their own kitchens.”
Loulies will soon make it easier for home cooks to share their own tips and finds as the website evolves into a more interactive community. “We would love it if people began to share what they were finding,” Simon says. “It’s nice to know what’s good out there.”
Cookbook Club 101
Ready to cook by consensus? Here are some insider tips for making your meetings a hit:
Stick with Six. You don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, and even smaller homes usually have tables that seat six.
Mix Things Up. Try not to include just a core group of friends. Expand your social circle to learn how different people use their kitchens.
Explore Away. Use any cookbook that looks interesting. Track down out-of-print books that catch your eye, or even cook from food magazines or blogs.
Stay Loose. It’s useful to divvy up the courses (appetizer, salad, dessert, etc.), but even if two people show up with the same dish, they’ll likely translate it in different, interesting ways.
Get Creative. Recipes are a great guide, but don’t be afraid to try your own interpretations.
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