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Supper Clubs: Eating Well & Savoring the Social

This recipe first appeared in the December 2023/January 2024 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI magazine.

By Susan Marquez 


In my years as a young wife and mother, eating out at a restaurant was a special treat. It wasn’t something we did often – not that we didn’t want to – we simply didn’t have the budget for it. But the desire to have a night out to eat delicious food with friends was strong. When a friend called and asked if we would like to be in a supper club she was starting, my husband and I jumped at the chance.

supper club

There were four other couples in the supper club, ten people total. It was an ideal number, as most of us had a dining room table that would seat six, and a breakfast room table that would seat four. 


We met once a month, and rotated houses. The months of July and December were “off” months, and we met up at a restaurant we all agreed upon. We didn’t always go to a restaurant. We once tailgated at a baseball game, and once we had a picnic at the Reservoir. One summer we all went in and rented a pontoon boat, and in December we rented a party bus to drive around town looking at Christmas lights while we ate gourmet box dinners from a local deli.


The first couple of years, we split the work. The hostess would decide the theme, and others would bring assigned dishes to the dinner. That changed when one of the hostesses who was of Lebanese decent wanted to do an authentic Lebanese dinner. She felt more comfortable preparing the food the way her mother and grandmother taught her. At that dinner, we decided to have the host and hostess be responsible for the entire meal. The other guests simply had to show up and enjoy.

supper club

Two times a year, for the next six years, we hosted ten friends for dinner in our home. It put a little pressure on us to do things we had put off, such as having the carpet and upholstery cleaned, finally buying drapes for the dining room, and filling out our china so that we would have ten place settings instead of mismatched dishes (although there is nothing wrong with that, if done creatively).

Some dinners were pure crowd-pleasing comfort food, such as spaghetti and meatballs swimming in homemade sauce with fresh baked focaccia bread and tiramisu for dessert. Others challenged us to up our cooking skills by trying difficult or time-consuming recipes (Hey Julia Child, we loved your beef bourguignon and floating island dessert). Sure, there was the time the dinner was a complete failure, and the hostess ordered pizza to be delivered. It was delicious, and we still enjoyed a fun evening with friends.

After almost a decade, the supper club fell apart. Two couples moved away, and one person developed severe food allergies. It had been fun, but it had run its course.

supper club

Fast forward about 25 years, and my husband and I are in a new supper club. This time there are four couples. We are all empty-nesters, and some are retired. There is more experience among all of us, and our palates are probably a bit more refined than those early days. We have traveled and eaten food around the world. Most of the people in our group are daring home cooks who aren’t afraid to try something new.


We have a few ground rules, mostly aimed at trying not to have rules. We meet monthly-ish, no pressure. We may skip a month, or two, if it’s not convenient for everyone. There are no food restrictions. Sure, we are older, and some of us have diabetes or other health issues. We just know to eat clean for a few days before supper club. We also don’t have to eat massive amounts of anything. We taste. We savor. We enjoy. One bite, or even three or four, is not going to kill us. And for goodness’ sake, drink the wine.


We sometimes do themed dinners, but mostly it’s just a delicious meal, typically starting with appetizers and cocktails, followed by a salad, entrée, and dessert. One of the members loves cooking more than just about anything else, and she will regale the members with a seven-course dinner with wine pairings when supper club meets at her house. Sometimes tables are set with fine china, crystal and silver, other times we may eat gourmet hotdogs from children’s cafeteria plates. The first supper club my husband and I hosted for the group was a low country boil, with a huge platter of peel-and-eat shrimp in the middle of the table.

Another gathering wasn’t supper at all. Instead, we hosted an elaborate brunch complete with a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar


Some supper clubs have a name. Ours does not. It’s just “the supper club.” It’s a mighty fine way to spend an evening around the table with friends, enjoying good food, and trying new things. The best part of being in a supper club isn’t the food – although that’s an important component – the best part is being with people who have similar interests, who have interesting experiences to share; people you enjoy spending time with.  


Some Supper Clubs in Mississippi:

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a meal in a group setting with no commitment other than the price you pay to participate. Pop-up supper clubs are becoming more popular than ever. There are a few outstanding ones in the state:  

Delta Supper Club – provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience with guest chefs, brew masters, sommeliers, and more. With the goal of preserving and celebrating the rich culture of the Mississippi Delta, the members-only club holds events throughout the year in culturally significant sites around the Delta. 

Flora Supper Club – Chef David Raines, an internationally-acclaimed chef who has worked in Michelin star restaurants now makes his home in Flora. He owns the Flora Butcher Shop and Raines Cellars, but when he needs to flex his culinary muscles, he hosts an intimate multi-course dinner with wine pairings for a limited number of guests in a historic building on Flora’s main drag. Reservations made on a first-come-first-served basis. See The Flora Supper Club on Facebook.


Dirty Napkins Supper Club – Kayland Partee believes the true symbol of a good meal is a dirty napkin. He has collaborated with a professional chef and a cigar sommelier to present a beautiful dining experience at a long communal table in The Plant, a repurposed building in Jackson. The venue is the ideal setting for pre-dinner cocktails before moving into the main room with a table that comfortably seats fifty people. Follow Dirty Napkins on Facebook and Instagram.


Plenty – A seasonal supper series at the Little Blue Stem Flower Farm in Carthage. Held a few times each spring and fall on the porch of an old farmhouse, the dinner features seasonal, locally sourced fare prepared by George and Ann Elizabeth Gillespie of Supper Club Chef Services in Jackson. 


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