Whether you choose Seriously Simple Parties (Chronicle Books) as a gift or to complete your personal holiday schedule, Diane Rossen Worthington’s 20th cookbook hits home. The tone here is light, the recipes well laid out and carefully chosen and the food itself reflective of a culture that has gone through a lot of changes since the author’s earliest efforts. Best of all, in spirit, it answers all of the questions that a new home entertainer might have:
This book will show you how to pull together a festive meal for a small or large group that is tasty and beautifully presented, but doesn’t require endless hours preparation.
Perfect, right? What else do any of us want?
With notes on stocking the pantry, party entertaining styles, seasonal party themes plus a whole section on themed menus based on recipes in the book, the nervous home entertainer will find him or herself well prepared for early hosting forays.
As appropriate for a book about party entertaining, the recipe section begins with drinks of both the alcoholized and dealcoholized kind. With smoothies, cocktails, spritzers and sangrias included, you almost don’t notice that no recipes for any type of punch have been included. An oversight that would have rounded out the book.
And though some appetizers have been included, that’s not the thrust of this book, with the bulk of the recipes more appropriate for lunches, brunches and dinners with friends than for stand-up cocktail parties or canapes for a group.
In short, while this is not the definitive book on holiday entertaining, it’s a healthful and well-produced start. ◊
Aaron Blanton is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.