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Publishers WeeklyDinner hosts sick of Martha Stewarts and Barefoot Contessas will have a field day with O'Neill and Reynolds's irreverent, compulsively readable entertaining guide. Veteran hostesses of an underground New York supper club, the two chefs share dinner party secrets emphasizing good times with a minimum of stress, and an informal, refreshingly profane tone that belies the genre's staid, prescriptive standard. In short, hosts are encouraged to make the party theirs, which means cooking what's comfortable, rather than catering to the diets of guests; not getting wound up over wine; and even playing the soundtrack you like, rather than worry about ambiance. Practical, empowering tips include hiring a dishwasher (cheaper than you think, especially if guests chip in) and skipping the intensive house-cleaning. Four seasonal menus, complete with timelines and wine tips, give hosts of all experience levels a number of entry points and techniques, including a Baby Step Dinner Party and a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cassoulet, in which cooks are discouraged from scouring the earth for a particular sausage or bean. The affable, freewheeling spirit can backfire, however, as the authors frequently pause mid-recipe to offer an aside, anecdote or even a different recipe altogether. This volume will fit in nicely next to Amy Sedaris's I Like You, but even the Contessa would be impressed with these cookbook newcomers.
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