When I dive, I dive deep! I checked out all the books about dinner parties. Here are 3 that stood out:
How to Host a Dinner Party by Corey Mintz
All the other books seem fluffy next to this one, which is small but densely packed. When it arrived I was filled with dismay; it looked – well, boring. It was not! This man knows his stuff, and writes with a convincing wryness. He covers it all! And he takes a realistic approach. I mean, take this advice: “…whom you invite to dinner is more important than what you cook. It would be more fun to eat microwave popcorn with your best friend than a brilliant meal with Hitler.” Touché.
A Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm
This book is funny in its own fashion, in the “hah, I wish!” kind of way. The author knows decadence, and to all appearances embraces it as a lifestyle. All envy aside, the photos are eye-catching and sumptuous. Even if you can’t foot the bill for “a garden’s worth of exuberant blooms” to perk up your luncheon before the foxhunt on your estate, you can still draw inspiration from this woman’s sense of style.
The Minimalist Entertains by Mark Bittman
I really related to Bittman’s introduction, where he talked about all the things he had failed to think through in his early days of throwing dinner parties, and how, with a little forethought, it doesn’t have to be so hard! As the title of the book suggests, less is more. As he says, “good food, prepared with a modicum of care and thought, is appreciated by anyone who likes to eat.” What follows are 40 menus for different types of celebrations, taking the guesswork out of pairing dishes. His “Keys to Success” notes for each menu are helpful, but I do regret the complete lack of pictures, which, in something that is largely a cookbook, is disappointing.