Entertaining Survival Guide: A Handbook for the Hesitant Host

Overview

It's time to pay back all those kind souls who fed you through years of graduate school, but you work full-time and you've never had two people to your studio apartment. How can you pull it off?The boss is coming to dinner — he's on a diet and his wife is allergic to fruits and vegetables — what in the world can you serve without risking your future?

Relax. Lora Brody, who successfully has taught thousands of novices how to cook (and survive), now turns her attention to ...

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Overview

It's time to pay back all those kind souls who fed you through years of graduate school, but you work full-time and you've never had two people to your studio apartment. How can you pull it off?The boss is coming to dinner — he's on a diet and his wife is allergic to fruits and vegetables — what in the world can you serve without risking your future?

Relax. Lora Brody, who successfully has taught thousands of novices how to cook (and survive), now turns her attention to entertaining (and surviving). The Entertaining Survival Guide includes everything from planning menus, creating budgets, and drawing up guest lists to shopping, cooking, and (ugh) cleaning.

This step-by-step primer tackles every imaginable entertaining problem — what to do if you don't have enough tables, chairs, or dishes; who sits where; what to do if a guest is rude or has had too much to drink; how to figure out how much food you need; how to clean your house in record time; what to do if there's a power failure thirty minutes before your guests arrive; how to cope; and how to stay sane and relax. There's even a section on entertaining for business in and out of the home.

Whether you're planning an informal get-together for six or an elegant dinner party for twelve, Lora's do-ahead survival recipes are geared to making your entertaining go as smoothly as possible. To take the guesswork out of mixing and matching recipes, she's even included menus for every occasion.

She taught readers how to cook with the bestselling Kitchen Survival Guide. Now she's back to help them show off their new skills. What do you do when the guests show up early and dinner is still in a primal state? What can you serve when your dieting boss is coming to dinner--and his wife has weird food allergies? Relax . . . Lora Brody shows how to navigate the world beyond dinner for one.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688122959
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 393
  • Product dimensions: 7.18 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Premise and the Promise

If the Joneses have invited you over so many times that it's getting downright embarrassing to Rollerblade past their house but you are not quite sure how to keep up with them in the social arena, then this book is for you. If you have more than a few untested kitchen skills but have a hankering to gather some folks around the table for good food and good conversation, then you have come to the right place. If you just got your own apartment and long to show it off by giving a party but haven't a clue where to begin, you are in good hands. With this book, you can relax—help is on the way. I promise to show you how to entertain guests and survive so that when the last one leaves, you will happily realize that you actually had a good time at your own party. Or was that a great time?

When I was growing up, a warm welcome, a clean house, an ironed tablecloth, and plenty of food were symbols of hospitality. I still believe this is true—and relying on this premise, I entertain frequently and happily. Remember, when you decide to throw a party, there's no reason to dazzle your friends with your (perhaps nonexistent) culinary genius. Plain, good food does just fine. Don't worry that the ingredients in the salad are not trendy or that you have neglected to pour the perfect wine with every course. If you serve well-cooked, tasty food and provide a warm, pleasant atmosphere, I guarantee the party will be a success. The trick is to get past the performance anxiety and feel confident as a host.

And that's easier than you may think because I am with you every step of the way. I promise to give you ideas for choosing a menu; toexplain how to issue invitations by phone or mail; to provide shopping lists so you don't run out of cocktail napkins just as Great-aunt Sophie reaches for the Swedish meatballs; and to show you how to do a quick cleanup around the house (I even point out places you missed!). Perhaps best of all, I give you foolproof recipes that will wow your guests without requiring that you first enroll in the Cordon Bleu. And there's more: I teach you how to set the table, how to clear the table, when to serve cocktails, and when and how to hire a caterer. I explain how to cope with unexpected guests and very young children, as well as with mundane catastrophies such as spilled wine or broken dessert plates. Most important, I explain how to make people feel at home in your home. And please, don't hesitate to invite me over to dinner. I'm looking forward to it.

The Rules of Entertaining

I will expound upon, elaborate on, and otherwise elucidate the following twenty-two rules" for entertaining, but to begin, I will list them to give you an idea of the wealth of information to come. When you need a refresher course, run your eyes down this list—you'll feel better.

1.This is not rocket science. You're just making dinner.

2.Plan ahead.

3.Work ahead.

4.Make notes and refer to them (you have my permission to write in the margins of this book! Unless you got it from the library or borrowed it, of course).

5.Always shop with a list.

6.Write your menu and time line down and tape it on the refrigerator door.

7.Always prepare more than you think you will need.

8.Don't try out a new menu without making the difficult dishes at least once beforehand.

9.Don't serve weird stuff.

10.Don't comment on the eating habits of your guests: "Why haven't you finished? Don't you like it?"

11.Carry a timer in your pocket or on a string around your neck to remind you when you need to stir the soup, check the cake, or turn the chicken in the marinade (put the timer away when your guests arrive).

12.Don't apologize if something doesn't work out exactly as you wanted it to-pretend it's just the way you planned.

13.Remember, mix and match is in (but don't go overboard).

14.Always taste before adding salt, and always add the salt last.

15.Don't do the dishes until the company has left.

16.Don't serve the same ingredient in more than one course.

1 7.Don't make foods that are all the same color and texture.

18.Keep the music low enough to hear conversation, and the lights bright enough to see what you're eating.

1 9.Graciousness, good manners, and a sense of humor will help you through any crisis.

20.Even take-out food looks great in a nice serving dish.

21.Remember that someday this will get easier.

22.Have fun!

Copyright ? 1994 by Lora Brody

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