The entertaining season seems to be upon us. In fact, as Thanksgiving is over, one can say that at least one of the hurdles has been either bypassed or carried off successfully.
Regardless, as occasions for good cheer and lots of people to feed come up on a regular basis for most people, I figured that it’s a good time as any to look into feeding a crowd with style and panache.
This is a good enough cookbook in a pinch. It is split into chapters, all based around certain themes, and there are diverse enough options to pull off most anything one would desire. Louisiana seafood feast, simple Chinese, and pasta for a crowd are just some of the samplings that she has to offer. There are pictures to accompany most of the recipes so that you may compare your finished product with ‘what it’s supposed to look like’, always useful when trying out new dishes, she helpfully informs us of how many people the recipe is expected to serve, and the instructions are relatively detailed and concise. Bonus points for having picture diagrams on how to prepare a whole fish for stuffing and other similarly useful additions.
Unfortunately, even if I had not taken this book out from the library, I would probably not choose this book for my keeper shelf. In an effort to cram as much as possible into the limited pages, whereas I’d like to commend her for trying to let us get as much bang for our buck -- I found the recipes to be small, cramped, and sometimes I found myself wishing that she had less unnecessary pictures of how to decorate and left a little more space for the recipes. Psychology class taught me that the most inviting sort of layout for information is decently sized font and lots of white space -- I have to say that this information would not have gone amiss for whoever chose the layout. As many as 5 recipes crammed onto one single page is really a bit much to take in.
Also, I wished that she had included vegan and vegetarian options. Certainly one can choose from the many, many cookbooks out there which cater to the vegan and vegetarian crowd and surely one cannot expect her to think of everything. However, in today’s world where a host/hostess might very well be expected to serve a dinner to a mixed group of ‘vores ranging from the omnivore to the strictly carnivore to the self-imposed herbivores, it would have been useful for her to note a menu that all sorts may sit down to and enjoy alike. The days of fobbing your guests off with tomato sauce on pasta is quite over and I felt the book should have addressed that.
Other than that, if you have a bunch of people descending upon you for the holidays or any other happy occasion, rest assured that you are in Martha’s oh-so-very capable hands. However, I shall have to continue my search for the penultimate in hosting guides.
A must-have for Martha fanciers." -People
"When Martha Stewart talks, holiday entertainers should listen." -San Francisco Examiner
"Stewart really knows how to put together dishes that complement one another." -Washington Post
Enjoy 20 complete menus with more than 150 deliciously diverse recipes
Pink Peony Dinner Party
Hors d'Oeuvres in the Garden
A Small but Special Baby Shower
Spicy Thai Lunch
Louisiana Seafood Feast
North Carolina Barbecue
Crabs and Corn on the Beach
Tuscan Buffet Outdoors
The Best Clambake
Surprisingly Simple Chinese
"Fried Green Tomatoes" Brunch
Pasta for a Crowd
Halloween's "Ghoulish" Pleasures
Thanksgiving at Turkey Hill
Holiday Dessert Buffet
A Birthday Dinner of Gifts
New Traditions for Christmas
Come for Champagne and Caviar