Read between the wines: Filzen starts Meetup group, book club

Even before this national champion moved to Dickinson in July, she wanted to start making friends here. So, Abbey Filzen, 23 -- a food-competition winner whose career is creating food products for national food companies and restaurant chains -- ...

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Press Photo by Virginia Grantier Abbey Filzen, shown Monday in her Dickinson home, started the “A Good Book & A Glass of Wine,” book club.

Even before this national champion moved to Dickinson in July, she wanted to start making friends here.
So, Abbey Filzen, 23 - a food-competition winner whose career is creating food products for national food companies and restaurant chains - started a Dickinson Meetup group, even before she got here.
She said it’s a book club similar to the one she was a member of in Texas. There is more involved than books: wine and food, too.
The group, for women, is called “A Good Book & A Glass of Wine.” And there are already 19 members, ranging in age from 20s to decades older. About half are recent transplants.
“I really like to read. I spend a lot of time reading,” Filzen said.
But if someone doesn’t read or drink wine, that’s OK, too. People also bring hors d’oeuvres, and she said it’s really about socializing, meeting new people.
Filzen said after she moved here in July the new group met at Applebee’s restaurant to get to know each other to make sure they were comfortable meeting in private homes.
The members include homemakers, flight attendants, teachers, a nurse, an employment agent and Filzen, who is now in research and development at Baker Boy, in Dickinson. Currently, she is tasked with tweaking, perfecting, a special sort of top-secret cinnamon roll. She can’t say much more.
The consensus at Applebee’s was it was a go - and for the next meeting, in August, they met at Filzen’s home to discuss “Gone Girl,” by author Gillian Flynn, now a movie.
“We talked for like three hours, and not just about the book,” she said.
In addition, other connections were made. She said two members who both have labrador retrievers were planning to meet at the dog park for a dog date.
Some brought hors d’oeuvres, and each member brought a bottle of wine.
Filzen pointed to a bunch of bottles on top of her refrigerator that aren’t empty - leftovers. She added she will bring the bottles to the October meetup, which will be at another member’s home at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8.
New members are wanted and welcome. She said they will discuss “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a non-fictional account of Strayed dealing with a string of tragedies by dropping everything and taking a more than thousand-mile hike alone on the Pacific Crest Trail through the mountains of California.
“It’s so good,” Filzen said. “You can really still her evolution ... from reckless behavior … to more rational thinking.”
Filzen said a friend in Texas started this meetup idea of A Good Book & a Glass of Wine and she was a member. She said it was her only outlet besides her work in the food profession, which she loves but which takes up much of her life.
Filzen, who said she’s known as a hard-worker, was growing up near New Ulm, Minn., where her dad raised Belgian draft horses, when she was able to finagle getting a restaurant job at age 14. She started as dishwasher, moved up, and by about age 16 was the cook, trusted to cook solo.
She said her aspiration had been to be a chef, but she started realizing how horrible the hours were - working weekends and all holidays.
Filzen found a compromise - a bachelor’s of science degree in culinology - which is a food science degree that includes some culinary training. She said her college days at Southwest Minnesota State University were long, about 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., as she and others trained for a national student competition put on by the Georgia-based Research Chefs Association.
Her team was to create a North Carolina cuisine dish to be sold in restaurants.
They ended up winning for their creation of chicken strips baked into waffles and served with sweet-tea syrup - and accompanied by a side of deep-fried macaroni and cheese.
She was then wooed to Texas by Frito-Lay for an internship and helped create a new flavor of chip based on the seasoning of chicken and waffles. Then she went on to work for a Waco, Texas, company helping to create products for national restaurants such as TGI Fridays.
Recently, Filzen had an opportunity to be closer to family and have a job in her field when she found out Baker Boy was looking for a research and development assistant.
She got the job and is now in the process of making that top-secret cinnamon roll for a customer of Baker Boy’s.
It’s not known if there will be cinnamon rolls at the next meetup. But there will be wine and snacks.
In the future, there could be other possible developments: There might be an author in on the discussion. Filzen said she has been contacted by an author who would be interested in discussing her book with the group via Skype.
If interested in joining, go to .

Grantier is a reporter for The Dickinson Press. Contact her at 701-225-8111.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
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