Food & dining

Group prepares dishes from books they discuss

BELMONT — This time, there’s a lot of ajvar. The Serbian relish of roasted peppers and eggplant plays a role in Tea Obreht’s bestseller, “The Tiger’s Wife.” Tonight, the dish is part of a buffet served at the home of Ann Silverman and Israel Fridman. Silverman and Fridman are hosting their book group, which has been meeting for nearly four years to discuss literary works ranging from classics to current literature, and to share a meal. Over time, the meal has evolved into a culinary celebration of whatever book is on the group’s agenda, with dishes that reflect the culture and characters.

It’s a practice that’s become increasingly popular. Needham authors Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp spoke to dozens of book groups to gather information and recipes for “The Book Club Cook Book,” a revised edition of which came out in March. “We’ve heard that it helps them read more closely and think about the themes of the book,” says Krupp. “It helps them review plot elements, prompts discussion, gets the conversation going.”

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