Be Inspired By The Entertaining Experts

the best entertainment books

If you’ve ever found yourself lost in the aisles of the bookstore, overwhelmed by the gorgeous and intimidating covers of the “Special Occasion” Cookbooks, you’ve come to the right place. While its hard to go wrong with any of the pretty choices at the bookstore, I’ve read, (and studied) most of them and these are some of my absolute favorite entertaining books from some of the experts.

Martha’s Entertaining – While this may not be the most practical guide for those of use with more modest party budgets, it is unbelievably beautiful and inspiring. Almost every single one of the 432 pages features full color photographs of some of Martha’s personal parties and events. Anyone who enjoys her work will appreciate this very personal look into her world.

Barefoot Contessa Parties! – Full disclosure here, I own almost all of Ina Garten’s cookbooks and refer to them on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Her works are flawless – the perfect blend of sophisticated and simple and Parties! is no exception. A great collection of amazing recipes and menus, gorgeous photography and brilliant tips that will leave you exclaiming “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Real Simple Celebrations – I am always amazed at the clever tips and great ideas from the team at Real Simple and this book definitely delivers. A fantastic resource if you haven’t hosted many parties – even the novice can pull off an amazing bash using their simple to follow plans, recipes and suggestions.

Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties – Another gorgeous selection complete with seven seasonal menus and step by step instructions to execute a party in classic Williams-Sonoma style. If you’re comfortable in the kitchen, but have never hosted a dinner party, this is a fantastic place to start.

In Style Parties – Want to celebrate like a celebrity but lack the unlimited budget and personal assistants? Learn all the secrets from the A-listers best party and event planners. If you’re an In Style reader, you may already be familiar with their popular party guides and now you can have their best advice all in one place. Over 20 plans from menus to decorations to advice on where to buy the stars favorite party must have.


Party Primer – Why Host a Dinner Party?

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Why Should You Host A Dinner Party?

Because it will be fun. I promise. Okay, so maybe that’s not quite compelling enough for you.

Dinner parties are an excellent way to mark a special occasion, or just steal away from the world for a night with your nearest and dearest, relishing the chance to enjoy each other’s company away from the interruptions of the rest of the world.

 If you like to cook it is a great way to challenge yourself and show off your skills. And even if you’re not a genius in the kitchen, people rarely complain about free meals.

 If you hate to cook, well, you just may find that cooking food for other people in enjoyable in a way that cooking for yourself is not. Or maybe you’ll still hate to cook, but at least the party will be fun.

 There is something marvelous about inviting someone into your home to share a meal. Spending all our social time in crowded bars and restaurants is a new phenomenon, and eating a microwaved meal alone in front of the television is newer still. But the “Dinner Party” or at least the idea of the shared meal is as old as civilization itself.

Food shared over a common table, in the presence of friends stirs up such deep emotions because it’s how we have nourished our bodies and spirits for thousands of years. We can’t connect and delight in each other’s company over the the noise of a second-rate band and the attitude of an overworked waitress.

It doesn’t even need to be complicated, in fact it shouldn’t be complicated. The simplest of meals will be wonderful when prepared with good intentions and careful instructions. Or ordered in from a trusted restaurant – that’s right you don’t even have to cook.

Too many people are scared of hosting dinner parties because they think it has to be Martha Stewart-worthy or its not worth the effort. Please believe me when I tell you this isn’t the case. Have you and your friends ever eaten Chinese take-out or pizza around the coffee table and a board game? Guess what – that’s a dinner party. Sure the big formal affairs with place-settings and centerpieces can be fun if that’s your style, but it’s not the only way to do it. In fact, sometimes the impromptu casual dinners can be more memorable.

There will always be a thousand reasons not to – your decorating is unfinished, the house is too old, too cluttered, too sparse, you don’t have a “formal” table, you’re just too busy… but I challenge you to get past these excuses. There are simple solutions to almost any “obstacle” you can come up with. And maybe it seems like a lot of work, but you may just surprise yourself when you see how much fun it can be to create something that brings so much joy to the people you love.

Have I convinced you? Fantastic! So what now? Stay tuned for more of my tips, hints, tricks and advice about how to pull off a successful dinner party (or any other kind of party).

I’d love to hear more about what you would most like to learn about hosting a party. Leave a comment and let me know.