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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


 ENTERTAINING; recipes and inspirations for gathering with family and
friends (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 346 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-42132-1,
$34.99 US hard covers) is by  Abigail Kirsch, a well-known caterer with
Culinary Institute of America and Cordon Bleu diplomas. Indeed, the
book has been issued under the auspices of the CIA in its far reaching
series of cookbooks for consumers. As Kirsch points out, the high point
in entertaining at home was from the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties.
That ten year period saw many new developments in food production,
cookbooks, and the booming upscale standard of living in North America
after the war years. It petered out with the disintegration of the
family unit as more wives went to work, teenagers rebelled, and young
adults simply "hung out" in a different manner. Today's entertaining is
more casual, and there is a lot more of it because of its looseness.
Her book has over 200 preps for party food, covering all courses,
snacks, desserts, and beverages. Her range is from summer BBQs, to
lunch-brunch, family gatherings, tasting parties, picnic and tailgates,
all the way to fancy special occasions, upscale cocktail parties,
reunions, and the like. She manages to cover all the basics of
planning, preparing, and hosting. Preparations have their ingredients
listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric
Audience and level of use: home entertainers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: three-grain waffles; cheddar
and walnut icebox crackers; frisee salad; toasted haricot verts with
walnuts; butternut squash, eggplant, zucchini and fava bean stew;
barley and wheat berry pilaf; prosciutto and lobster crostini;
tortillas de papas; pork crown roast with rosemary jus lie.
The downside to this book: a few more photos would have been useful,
especially since it was possible to get two dishes on a page. And there
are no gluten-free alternatives.
The upside to this book: there's plenty of leading and judicious use of
white space.
Quality/Price Rating: 91.

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