Rita's Culinary Trickery: How to Get Dinner on the Table Even If You Can't Cook

Overview

What is culinary trickery? It's about bringing a great group of people together as much as it is about what you serve. It's about creating an easy, relaxed setting and the way you welcome your guests as much as it's about getting delicious--but not fussy--food on the table. In short, it's about big-picture entertaining in which there's always room for a few tricks that make you look like a master chef, even if you never went near the oven. So let London's favorite young style ...
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Overview

What is culinary trickery? It's about bringing a great group of people together as much as it is about what you serve. It's about creating an easy, relaxed setting and the way you welcome your guests as much as it's about getting delicious--but not fussy--food on the table. In short, it's about big-picture entertaining in which there's always room for a few tricks that make you look like a master chef, even if you never went near the oven. So let London's favorite young style expert show you how to:
  • Choose simple, easy menus for everything from lunch with a girlfriend to entertaining in-laws to no-fail dinners
  • Extend irresistible invitations
  • Serve seasonal fruit, a cheese course, and even a store-bought prepared main course (yes, it's okay!) on beautiful platters
  • Set the tone for a festive dinner party with a proper cocktail
  • Win over the smallest, fussiest guests -- kids!

Whether you're planning a simple breakfast for two or a feast for a crowd, let Rita Konig show you how to sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy your own party.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Don't expect to find much real culinary advice here. What interior designer Konig (Domestic Bliss), a.k.a. the "Design It Girl," shares with so-called modern girls are her favorite tips on stylish and gracious entertaining. Much of her trickery lies in the art of presentation and ranges from such topics as creating the perfect guest list to shopping for dishes, practicing basic etiquette, and "laying" a beautiful table with mostly takeout or easily prepared foods. Ultimately, this Martha for the New Millennium guide is intended for young English professionals, and American readers will find the occasional glimpse into British culture (e.g., using "at home" cards as invitations, the necessity of owning a toast rack, and suggestions for making bacon and egg "bap") either quirky and off-putting or saucy and hip. This culinary guide, garnished with full-color retro artwork, is not an essential buy but would make a fresh, breezy addition to public library popular reading or culinary collections.-Deborah Ebster, Univ. of Central Florida/Rosen Coll. of Hospitality Management Lib., Orlando Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743271028
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 9/20/2005
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

This is a book about friends, food and eating -- not about being a great chef. Having people to dinner is about so much more than being able to produce a great feast. You can go to someone's house and eat a delicious dinner but have an awful time. On another occasion you can have a great evening and can't even remember what you ate. What is fun is who else is there.

Culinary Trickery is about entertaining as a whole. It takes a look at the bigger picture: who you have to dinner, how you create an easy and relaxed environment for them to be in, and how you get something good to eat on the table. Obviously you will want to offer your guests some delicious food, but you don't have to be a "great cook" in order for people to have a good time in your house. There's always room for some culinary trickery, whether it is laying a beautiful tray at teatime or getting breakfast ready.

My main advice is this: keep it simple. Don't do five different vegetables because it's very difficult to have them all ready at the same time. Learn how to cook the perfect roast chicken in a style that suits the season and the occasion--roast chicken is a personal favorite of mine and a culinary confidence builder. Discover something you are happy to cook over and over again, and you'll find that the more you cook it the better you get. Who wants to start learning how to cook something new an hour before six people are arriving at your house for dinner? Learn how to shop -- this is as simple as taking advice from your butcher, fish seller, wine merchant and greengrocer -- and buy good produce in season. Don't be afraid to cheat and buypreprepared dishes, but learn how to mix them in with other things that you have cooked.

The way you serve your guests tells them as much about how pleased you are to see them as the number of hours you've spent in the kitchen. Culinary trickery is partly about finding special treats, how you present and serve things, shopping and styling--and a little bit of cooking. Don't bother to use the oven if all a beautiful dessert or salad requires is clever arranging. Entertaining is as much about your home and the environment you create as the food you cook, and while what you provide must taste good, you don't necessarily have to have struggled over a hot oven in order to put something on the table.

While abundance is important, it can be a little overwhelming. I remember as a child going to visit my mother's friend Marge. She is a woman of enormous style and a fabulous cook. I cannot remember a single meal that she cooked, but I do remember the small glass plates of figs that she once served at the end of dinner and how enticing they looked, much more so than an overflowing fruit bowl dumped on the table. If your produce is good, it will sell itself, so let it. Allow food to be its simple, glorious self, and oddly enough people will think you're terribly clever, when all you did was choose a pretty plate and an unexpected time to serve it. Amazing, isn't it?

I hope you enjoy this book and it inspires you to invite people over for supper or to visit for the weekend.

Text copyright © 2004 by Rita Konig

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1 Gathering people

Chapter 2 Breakfasts

Chapter 3 Hunter gathering

Chapter 4 Laying the table

Chapter 5 The dinner party

Chapter 6 Cooking for children

Chapter 7 Celebrations

Chapter 8 Eating outdoors

Chapter 9 The sweet end

Acknowledgments

Index

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