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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
After two decades of catering big events like the Academy Awards and small ones like an intimate dinner for Julia Child, Nicole Aloni knows a lot of short cuts.
Her book is a practical resource guide, packed with entertaining fundamentals like timetables, space planning, table setting, food quantity charts, checklists for outside services, budget-trimming suggestions, and more than 150 party-tested recipes. In addition to the nuts and bolts, Aloni likes to add the "wow" factor to her parties through the food and the decorations. For alternatives to traditional placecards, for example, she likes to use a bright pippin apple with a nametag tied to the stem, or a Chinese fan inscribed with the guest's name.
Time-stressed hosts will appreciate Aloni's suggestions for theme parties, where she recommends dishes to buy from a favorite restaurant, dishes to make, appropriate garnishes, and compatible wines or drinks. For a Mexican party, for example, Aloni suggests ordering a turkey in mole sauce; buying Mexican beer, chips, tortillas, and salsa; and making the Cadillac margaritas, salad, and guacamole. Fresh pineapple tossed with basil, mint, and Triple Sec over store-bought tropical sorbets round off the meal. (Ginger Curwen)