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How to throw a book lovers barbecue

Summer is the season of barbecues, a time to gather with friends and cook meat outdoors. While there’s nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned cookout, at Grammarly we like to put a literary spin on things. Here’s a shelf full of suggestions for throwing a Book Lovers Barbecue:

  • Hello, My Name Is…Jane Eyre? Provide nametags and ask your guests to write down their favorite character.
  • Serve madelines as a nod to the famous passage from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. The delicate, lightly sweet cakes pair perfectly with tea or lemonade. (Recipe here)
  • Be the Lord of the Fries with thick-cut baked French fries dusted with parmesan and truffle salt. Serve in a conch shell.
  • Create place cards or menu cards that look like library due date cards. You can find a free template here.
  • Aim for the Jazz Age decadence of Gatsby’s Saturday night parties. Champagne and gold glitter are a must.
  • Incorporate a book swap into the festivities. Ask each guest to bring a book the share, and let them take home something new to read in exchange.
  • There are tons of Harry Potter recipes out there. One of the easiest is “magic wands” made from pretzel rods dipped in melted chocolate and coated in sprinkles.
  • Make flowers from paper printed with text. You can find tutorials for paper flowers here.
  • Create a table fit for a grammar geek by stenciling punctuation symbols like ampersands and semicolons onto a plain cloth table runner.
  • Don’t forget to have a Bonfire of the Vanities! Throw a couple of driftwood logs on the pile for designer colored flames.
  • Ask your guests to bring a dish inspired by their favorite book as well as a quote to share.
  • Don’t forget the cocktails! Tequila Mockingbird is a collection of cocktail recipes with a literary twist.
  • If you have a big enough yard, set up a croquet game as an homage to Alice in Wonderland. You may want to skip the live flamingos, though; regular croquet mallets work much better.
  • Decorate a rectangular cake to look like a book. For inspiration, check out these beautiful book-inspired cakes!
  • If you’re like us, you’ve always wanted to try Turkish Delight from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You can find the recipe here, but be warned: it’s a tricky little candy to make.

For more inspiration, check out Dinah Fried’s Fictitious Dishes, a collection of photos recreating meals from great books. (You can see a sample here.) The Book Club Cookbook has a collection of recipes and anecdotes from contemporary authors, including Aimee Bender’s lemon cake recipe and more.

The next time you have a birthday party, wedding, or book club meeting to plan, put a literary spin on it. We know what we’re doing for the next company picnic!