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Wild Women Throw a Party: 110 Original Recipes and Amazing Menus for Birthday Bashes, Power Showers, Poker Soirees, and Celebrations Galore

Wild Women Throw a Party: 110 Original Recipes and Amazing Menus for Birthday Bashes, Power Showers, Poker Soirees, and Celebrations Galore

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by Lynette Rohrer Shirk

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Move over, Martha! No one knows how to party like a Wild Woman. She can bring home the bacon, fry it up, and entertain you all at the same time. Part how-to, part history, and 100 percent hilarious, Wild Women Throw a Party is the gift book of the season.

Master chef and co-author of the wildly popular Wild Women in the Kitchen, Lynette Shirk has stirred up a


Move over, Martha! No one knows how to party like a Wild Woman. She can bring home the bacon, fry it up, and entertain you all at the same time. Part how-to, part history, and 100 percent hilarious, Wild Women Throw a Party is the gift book of the season.

Master chef and co-author of the wildly popular Wild Women in the Kitchen, Lynette Shirk has stirred up a best-selling batch of stories, anecdotes, historical facts, recipes, and favorite foods inspired by well-known Wild Women--from Dorothy Parker to Sarah Jessica Parker--and you are invited to a celebration of famed femmes and recipes for fun based on their stories. Let's party like it's 1929 with Jazz-Age babe Zelda Fitzgerald! Highlights include Dorothy Parker's Cocktail Party, Silver Screen Queens' Oscar Night, Joan Crawford's Mother's Day "Mommy Dearest" Breakfast, and Mary Pickford's Picnic at Pickfair. And nothing beats Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. But you might want to try the Better Than a Spaghetti Western Pasta Pajama Party, in homage to Sophia Loren.

Who knew that dangerous debutante Peggy Guggenheim, famous for her arty party salons, was also a gifted gourmet? Or that when Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't serving at soup kitchens, she was throwing and attending the most elegant "do's" around. From Dollywood to Hollywood, these dazzling dames and sassy sauciers know how to sling spaghetti, toss any salad, and dish up the desserts.

* Features 15 black-and-white photos of famous Wild Women and a fun, colorful design.

* 110 original recipes by a master chef and bonafide Wild Woman.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

A cross between a cookbook and a historic Peoplemagazine, this book from master chef Shirk encompasses both easy recipes for entertaining and stories about past and present celebrities. There are five basic party themes and 26 distinct affairs, and as this work is all about parties, many of the recipes are for hors d'oeuvres and finger foods. Tales about well-known "wild" women are loosely related to the themes in each chapter. The recipes are simple and coordinate well with one another within the same menu. One menu suggests purchasing entrée dishes from a restaurant, deli, or grocery store, while the hostess focuses her limited time on a special dessert. Although the book title and chapter titles imply the book is for women, it would be a good starter cookbook for men, especially those wishing to throw a carefree party. Recommended for libraries looking for basic party cookbooks.
—Ann Weber

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Wild Women Throw a Party

110 Original Recipes and Amazing Menus for Birthday Bashes, Power Showers, Poker Soirees, and Celebrations Galore

By Lynette Rohrer Shirk

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2007 Lynette Rohrer Shirk
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-753-8


Party Girls

The Mistress of Modernism's Art Gallery Opening

Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy Guggenheim was a twentieth-century patroness of the arts, most notable for bringing together the European Surrealists with the American Abstract Expressionists. She opened her New York Gallery, Art of This Century, in December 1942. A partial inventory of the opening works includes pieces by Arp, Brancusi, Calder, Chagall, Duchamp, Ernst, Kandinsky, Klee, Magritte, Man Ray, Miro, Mondrian, Picasso, and Vail (her first husband).

Art of This Century was comparable to the Armory Show of 1913, with its scandalous modern content that rocked popular imagination and drew large crowds. Peggy's gallery was interactive, making art fun and accessible to a general audience rather than just to elite wealthy buyers. It was a highly democratic experience, with the idea that it would be an art center where ideas would be freely exchanged. Its goal was to show that art was not static. The mission of the gallery was to serve the future, not to record the past, and its greatest contribution was that it showed unproven artists.

Peggy Guggenheim was one of only two female gallery owners in New York at the time of opening Art of This Century. She exhibited an all-women's art show, "Exhibition by 31 Women" in January 1943, with the works of Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Meret Oppenheim (who had shocked MOMA viewers with her fur-lined tea set). She has said that her single greatest discovery was Jackson Pollock, whose career she launched with a one-man show.

A Bohemian Painter's Party

Peggy Guggenheim's discovery, Jackson Pollock, is credited with the invention of "action painting." In action painting, Pollock used sticks instead of brushes to drip and fling paint onto a giant canvas, which was not upright on an easel but laid out flat on the floor of his barn studio. He hovered over the canvas and became part of the painting. The recipes below take off on the painting theme to create an artist's palette for your guests' palates!

The recipe for Paint "Brushes" with Paint Pot Dipping Sauces mimics Pollock's technique because the "brushes" have no brush, just the stick part. The different colored dipping sauces are arranged to resemble paint pots. The sauce flavors are honey-mustard, lemony ranch, zesty barbecue, olive-marinara and sesame-soy. The Modern Art Tart is an eggplant pizza with Asian flavors. It is garnished like an abstract modern art piece with various forms and vibrant colors. For dessert, the Jackson Pollock Ice Cream Canvases give your guests a chance to create their own paintings of vanilla ice cream with colorful sauces of caramel, butterscotch, chocolate, and strawberry. The Painter's Palette Cookies complete the meal and the theme with a sugar cookie cutout in the shape of a paint palette and painted with a mixture of egg yolk and food coloring. (Renaissance artists painted with a similar mixture of egg yolk and tempera pigment.)

Paint "Brushes" with Paint Pot Dipping Sauces

Serves 6


18 hard breadsticks
18 slices bacon
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
½ cup ranch dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
½ cup marinara sauce
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sliced green onions


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

2. Wrap each breadstick with a slice of bacon in a spiral so the bacon is wound around the breadstick from end to end.

3. Spread the brown sugar out on a piece of foil and sprinkle the cumin over it. Mix to combine with your fingers and gently squeeze out any lumps in the brown sugar.

4. Roll the bacon-wrapped breadsticks in the brown sugar mixture to lightly coat them and place them on the foil-lined baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on lettuce leaves (the grease can drain and they won't stick to lettuce like they would to paper towels.)

6. Combine the Dijon mustard and the honey for one dipping sauce.

7. Combine the ranch dressing and lemon juice for the second dipping sauce.

8. Combine the barbecue sauce with the Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper sauce for the third dipping sauce.

9. Combine the marinara sauce with the chopped black olives for the fourth dipping sauce.

10. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sliced green onions for the fifth dipping sauce.

11. Put the "brushes" in a cylindrical vessel, such as a vase or a clean paint bucket, and arrange the five dipping sauces in small bowls or ramekins around the brushes.

Modern Art Tart

Serves 6


1 prebaked pizza shell
2 Japanese eggplants
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup roasted red bell pepper strips
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
fresh cilantro leaves


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Slice eggplants into ¼-inch rounds and brush them with oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and grill them on a grill pan or an outdoor grill. Be sure to cook them until they are tender enough to eat and try to get striped grill marks on them for flavor and presentation.

3. Put the pizza shell on a pizza pan and spread the hoisin sauce over it.

4. Arrange the grilled eggplant slices over the sauce, then scatter the roasted red bell pepper strips and sliced green onions over the eggplant. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tart.

5. Bake the tart for 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and everything is heated through. Remove the tart from oven.

6. Garnish the tart with the chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro leaves and cut it into 6 wedges.

Jackson Pollock Ice Cream Canvases

Serves 6


6 ounces cream
6 ounces chocolate chips
1 cup frozen, sweetened strawberries, thawed
½ cup caramel sauce
½ cup butterscotch sauce
1 rectangular block of vanilla ice cream (half-gallon)
4 plastic squeeze bottles


1. In a saucepan, heat the cream to a simmer. Add the chocolate chips and remove the pan from the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then stir the melted chocolate into the cream to combine. Pour this chocolate sauce into a plastic squeeze bottle and keep in a warm place.

2. Purée the strawberries with their liquid in a blender and then strain it. Pour this strawberry sauce into a plastic squeeze bottle and set aside.

3. Heat the jars of caramel and butterscotch in a saucepan of warm water. Pour the sauces into two separate plastic squeeze bottles and keep in a warm place.

4. Peel the sides of the ice cream container down to expose the sides of the rectangular block of ice cream.

5. Cut the ice cream block, with a knife warmed in hot water, into 1- to 2-inch slices and place them on each guest's plate.

6. Set the squeeze bottles of sauces out for your guests to paint their own ice cream canvases à la Jackson Pollock.

Painter's Palette Cookies

Serves 12


4 ounces soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ¾ cups flour
1 egg yolk
food coloring (red, blue, yellow)


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, cream, and vanilla and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl mix together the salt, baking powder, and flour and then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix to form a smooth dough.

4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to prevent sticking. With a 3inch x 4-inch oval or egg-shaped cookie cutter, cut cookies out of the dough. Brush excess flour off the cookies and place them on cookie sheets.

5. Cut a small off-center circle out of the cookie with a canapé cutter or the large end of a pastry piping tip to resemble the part of the palette that the thumb and brushes go through.

6. Divide the egg yolk, mix it with different colors of food coloring, and paint it on the cookies in circles around the edge to resemble the paint on a painter's palette.

7. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

The Queen of Palm Beach's Luncheon

Marjorie Merriweather Post

Marjorie Merriweather Post was the only daughter of breakfast food innovator C.W. Post. Her father's inventions include Postum, a coffee substitute, Grape-Nuts cereal, and Post Toasties breakfast flakes. Born in 1887 in Springfield, Illinois, Marjorie was involved at an early age in her father's entrepreneurial projects. As a child she glued Postum labels onto the product's packages and when her father moved the family to Battle Creek, Michigan, she accompanied him on sales trips to win shelf space in a Grand Rapids grocery store next to his fellow inventor and competitor Kellogg. After Postum's success came a ready-to-eat breakfast food that was touted as "Marjorie's Baby Food"—Grape-Nuts. Marjorie later made her own mark on the company her father started by purchasing Clarence Birdseye's "frosted foods" company, General Foods. She was sympathetic to the average housewife's drudgery in the kitchen even though she didn't cook herself, and she was determined to make a difference by providing them with convenient alternatives for preparing the family meals.

The heiress to the cereal fortune became the toast of Palm Beach society along with her second husband, E.F. Hutton, in the 1920s, a time when the stuffy Old Society was breaking down to make way for the Jazz Age's cult of youth. The virtues of hospitality and sociability from Marjorie's middle-class Midwestern childhood and her participation in her family's acts of charity to the ill and needy combined with her fortune to pave the way for the elaborate benefit balls she staged in Palm Beach. Marjorie, now the "Queen of Palm Beach," threw theme parties and costume parties with friends such as the flamboyant showman Flo Ziegfeld and his actress wife Billie Burke. In a tribute to those sophisticated soirees, here is a dinner menu suitable for entertaining your friends Palm Beach style.

A Cereal Queen's Party

This luncheon menu starts with a Cold Cucumber Soup that was once on the menu of one of Marjorie's friend Billie Burke's dinner parties. The dainty Palm Beach Finger Sandwiches are so called because a sandwich filled with pimento cheese is sometimes called a "Palm Beach." (The vintage Highland Park Pharmacy lunch counter in Dallas has it on their menu.) Macadamia Nut Crusted Trout is an elegant entrée and it happens to have one of Marjorie's pet projects in the ingredients: macadamia nuts. Ms. Post financed a cousin's idea to plant macadamia seedlings in Hawaii and made arrangements with General Electric to create a macadamia nutshell cracking machine. Before this, there was no macadamia nut industry.

For dessert, a nod to the breakfast cereal that made Marjorie Merriweather Post's ascendancy to the throne as the Queen of Palm Beach possible, Grape-Nuts Ice Cream.

Cold Cucumber Soup

Serves 6


3 cucumbers
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup cream
salt and peper to taste
2 slices smoked salmon
¼ cup sour cream
6 fresh dill sprigs


1. Peel, seed, and chop the cucumbers.

2. In a blender, purée the cucumbers with the chicken broth until smooth. Add the cream and blend again until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

3. Slice the smoked salmon into strips.

4. Divide the cucumber soup evenly among 6 chilled soup bowls.

5. Garnish each soup bowl with the smoked salmon strips, a dollop of sour cream, and a dill sprig.

Palm Beach Finger Sandwiches

Serves 6


4 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese
4 ounces white cheddar cheese
¼ cup diced pimentos
1 tablespoon cream
¼ cup mayonnaise and
salt and pepper to taste
12 slices good white bread (thin slices)


1. Shred the yellow and white cheddar cheeses and put in a bowl.

2. Add the pimentos, cream, and mayonnaise to the cheese and mix well.

3. Season the pimento cheese mixture with salt and pepper.

4. Divide the pimento cheese among six slices of bread and spread it out. Top with the remaining six slices of bread to make sandwiches.

5. Cut the crusts off the sandwiches and discard them. (Or snack on them!)

6. Cut each crustless sandwich into four triangles and arrange them on a platter.

Macadamia Nut Crusted Trout

Serves 6


3 whole rainbow trout, deboned
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts
¾ cup bread crumbs
½ cup melted butter
6 lemon wedges


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Open up the fish and then place, skin side down, on an oiled baking tray. Season them with salt and pepper.

2. Combine the macadamia nuts with bread crumbs and coat the fish flesh with the mixture.

3. Drizzle the melted butter over the macadamia nut crust.

4. Bake the trout for 12 minutes, and then broil it to brown the crust.

5. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

Grape-Nuts Ice Cream

Serves 6


1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ cup Grape-Nuts cereal


1. Heat the half-and-half and the sugar to a simmer, then turn the heat to low.

2. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk to break them up and then temper them with ½ cup of the hot half-and-half.

3. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the rest of the heated half-and-half and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

4. Immediately strain the hot custard into a bowl set in an ice bath.

5. Stir the cream and vanilla into the custard and let the mixture chill completely, stirring occasionally to let the steam escape.

6. Freeze the chilled ice cream custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

7. Add the Grape-Nuts when the ice cream is almost finished. Store in the freezer until ready to serve.

The Original Flapper's Hotel Room Fete

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald was born to party. She set the standard for the Jazz Age cult of youth in the 1920s, dazzling society with her unbridled spirit and fearlessness. Even before she was a wild woman she was a wild child. Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, she acted on her impulses regardless of what other people thought. She swam in a scandalous flesh-colored bathing suit, hung out at the ice cream parlor sipping dopes instead of doing her homework, and wore mascara before the other girls did. She was no proper Southern belle! Zelda Sayre's fiery personality attracted the attention of F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance when he was an Army officer stationed near her home town during World War I. It was love at first sight for both of them. After a rocky courtship, Zelda and Scott were married in New York City in the spring of 1920 and began living the high life in peerless fashion. They took up residence in the Biltmore Hotel and regularly ordered fresh spinach and Champagne for midnight snacks.

The Fitzgeralds never lived in one place for very long. They rented a cottage in Westport, Connecticut, and continued to party with friends from New York before moving back to Manhattan. They retreated to St. Paul, Minnesota (Scott's family home) for the birth of their daughter, and then they rented a house in Great Neck, New York, where they partied with their neighbor Ring Lardner. They went to Paris to take their place in café society, partying with Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates, and then they rented a villa on the French Riviera where Zelda entertained herself by cliff diving into the sea and dancing on restaurant tables. They returned to the United States and after a stint in Hollywood, they rented an old mansion on the Delaware River where they could get some rest from their wild ways and Scott could get down to work.

Scott turned this rich life experience into his great American novel The Great Gatsby and several more, in addition to numerous short stories. Zelda was his muse and some of her ideas were infused in his stories, for example The Jelly Bean. His novels were inspired by the life he was living with Zelda but he claimed the material as his territory. Zelda tried to carve out a career of her own as a ballerina but became obsessed with this quest to the point of exhaustion. So she started competing with him in the literary world, writing a lengthy play, Candalabra, a novel, Save Me the Waltz, and short stories including Eulogy on the Flapper. Zelda also began painting and ultimately had an exhibition of her work in New York in 1934. The following party is a tribute to Zelda's arrival in Manhattan and the decadent hotel life the newly-wed Fitzgeralds shared at the dawn of the Jazz Age.

Excerpted from Wild Women Throw a Party by Lynette Rohrer Shirk. Copyright © 2007 Lynette Rohrer Shirk. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Ohio native Lynette Shirk comes from a long line of Wild Women. A pastry chef and co-author of Wild Women in the Kitchen, she has a BA in Classics from the Ohio State University and Professional Chef training from the California Culinary Academy. She worked in the San Francisco Bay Area kitchens of Chez Panisse, Postrio, Masa's, Bizou, Stars, Williams-Sonoma, and the James Beard House in New York before launching Volcano Candy to promote her unique Java Lava coffee-bean brittle. Lynette currently lives in Dallas, Texas.

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