Saturday, January 12, 2019

Book Review: Party Cookbook

The Southern Living Party Cookbook is a remake of their 1972 Party Cookbook.  This one is subtitled "A Modern Guide to Gathering".  Author Elizabeth Heiskell includes the entire planning process, from menu and drinks to invitations, table settings, recipes and thank you notes.  There are beautiful full page photos of table settings, with the full view and close-ups.  The contents include coffees, cookouts, brunches and celebrations.  All include gorgeous invitations, menu cards or place cards. Suggestions I want to remember: 
  • Hostess gifts.  My favorite is a "breakfast nibble" to help with the morning after.  
  • Party rules:  There are "no return" on dishes.  If you take an item in a dish, don't expect to get it back.  
  • Know your guests food intolerances.  There is "no dish to die for".
  • Write charming thank you notes.  Don't be afraid to go over the top.

Recipes I tested include the two pictured above:  Beef Bourguignon and Potatoes Dauphinoise.  I added additional vegetables to the beef entree.  My potatoes were made with skim milk instead of whole.  I haven't purchased Swiss Cheeses for a while, and many of the recipes in this book are made with that-but I like the taste of Swiss Cheese, with less sodium and fat than most other cheeses.

My version of the Squash and Swiss Cheese Casserole included added vegetables and a little Ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt. It was delicious out of the oven and reheated the next day.

These Cheese Tomato Tartlets were absolutely delicious.  I made the dough (using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all purpose flour) one morning, refrigerated, cutout, filled and baked that evening.  The dough recipe made twice as much as the printed yield, though my version of the pastry was probably thinner.

I also tried the Swiss Fondue, which was not quite as "modern" to us seniors.  

It's winter here, so my Pasta Salad with Chicken became the hot version and the Tomato Relish and Marinated Vegetables will have to wait for warmer weather.

This book probably would have been more useful to me in my catering days.  The recipes are for 12-24 and I rarely prepare for that many these days.  There are many adult drink recipes-which all sound good-though I doubt I ever have a need for those.  

The recipes often include processed foods for the breads, like hot roll mix, Bisquick and hush puppy mix.  I'd make my own and include whole grains.  While there are some vegetables, they are often presented as garnishes and centerpieces.  Many recipes involve lots of preparation, like the heirloom herbed tomatoes (these look wonderful) where the cherry tomatoes are blanched and peeled. 

I love the quote that concludes the book:  "A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.  Just remember there's more than one way to tell it" 

Thank you Meredith Publishing for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of an enjoyable read and eating experience!

1 comment:

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