Barnard and Dojny are the authors of Sunday Slippers ( LJ 12/88) and Let's Eat In ( LJ 3/15/90), as well as of a monthly column for Bon Appetit . Here are their favorite recipes for entertaining, arranged by seasonal celebrations. They include planning-ahead notes for each menu and ideas for shortcut substitutions. However, there are lots of other menu cookbooks for entertaining, from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook ( LJ 7/85) to Michael McLaughlin's The New American Kitchen ( LJ 8/90), not to mention Martha Stewart's contributions, and the recipes in this one are not particularly unusual.
It's about time someone produced a book of party recipes that didn't require days of advance preparation and a bushel of exotic ingredients. With eyes on time and convenience, coauthors Barnard and Dojny brazenly suggest substituting store-bought items--from quality suppliers, of course. Though most of the more than 150 recipes might seem old hat to avid culinarians, the combinations in 20 seasonal menus are creative. An adults-only Halloween party celebrates the Day of the Dead with potent zombies and jerked pork and chicken, while the Wellesley cookie exchange just might resurrect the fine art of baking. Most of the menus are intended for crowds, so the "in advance" and "if time is short" tips for each occasion will be much appreciated.