Weekend Reading: from casseroles to sauces

My reading list for this weekend is perfect for those who love to entertain. You’ll find cookbooks covering cocktails and fondues along with appetizers and party planning ideas. Four of the books featured are less than $20 making them affordable as well!

We haven’t entertained in such a long time and I’m starting to feel a bit rusty. When we have a party, I usually make way too much food and often attempt several new recipes, which can be dangerous. The result can be varied and often includes at least one dish that doesn’t make the cut. I mostly enjoy the pre-planning, picking out recipes and shopping for ingredients.

I’ve received the following recently published books for review and hope to read through them this weekend. Although it wasn’t planned, there appears to be an entertaining theme running through this set of books.

Casserole Crazy: Hot Stuff for Your Oven!
Emily Farris resurrects the humble casserole by covering 125 new takes on casseroles with recipes from celebrity chefs, as well as her own and those from family and friends. Raised in Missouri and now in Brooklyn, the recipes have a definite Midwestern edge with modernized touches here an there. You’ll find an entire chapter dedicated to “Macaroni and Cheese”. While I enjoy a great casserole, this book has one drawback, the lack of any photographs (not even on the cover). Bummer, because I’m sure the casseroles looked great!

101 Champagne Cocktails
Kim Haasarud continues her successful “101” series, this time featuring champagne-based cocktails. From a Kiwi Royale to a Blueberry Bellini, the drinks are beautifully photographed and recipes easy to follow. So many wonderful ideas for delicious cocktails, so little time :-)

Entertaining Simple
Matthew Mead has stolen my heart by showcasing one of my favorite ideas. I’ve longed to use a stainless steel tool chest as a piece of chic kitchen storage. Every time I pass one in a store, I stop and play with the drawers and tell Joe how we must get one in our next kitchen. In this book, Matthew shares entertaining tips and ideas, including a shiny tool chest filled with utensils and dishes. In addition to all of the helpful ideas, Matthew also shares fun and interesting recipes. I will be spending alot of time reading this one :-)

Great Party Fondues
Peggy Fallon moves fondue beyond the classic swiss version and explores a variety of cheeses from Brie to Manchego. Interesting savory fondues and chocolate fondues round out this book. My eyes stopped when I came to the “Gingerbread and White Chocolate” fondue. I haven’t taken my fondue pots out of the cupboard in a very long time – now I’m feeling inspired!

Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making
James Peterson returns to release this third edition to his original cookbook which won the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year for its first edition in 1991. The book comes in at over 600 pages and is a wonderful reference for classical and contemporary sauce making. Informative and easy to read, this book provides easy to follow recipes and charts. I never knew the world of sauces was so vast!

What cookbooks are you reading and loving right now?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kat September 19, 2008, 4:09 pm

    We just bought a book called Soups On which Matt has gone through & marked about half the recipes for us to try

  • Allen September 19, 2008, 4:33 pm

    Ohhhh, I love soup — I look forward to seeing you guys try out the recipes.

  • Maggie September 19, 2008, 11:17 pm

    I’d love to look over the sauce chart. There really is a need for a good, modern book on casseroles. It’s too bad there are no pictures, what were they thinking?

    I just reviewed a interesting pair of cookbooks, Fat and Raw.

  • Manggy September 19, 2008, 11:42 pm

    That white chocolate and gingerbread fondue sounds AWESOME. Make it, make it! Throw a party so you won’t have to eat all of it! :D To organize silverware we have drawers within cabinets here. The utility chest sounds cool but I’m not sure it can fit quite as many plates as I would want. I’m having trouble fitting them into a cabinet here.

    I’m reading The Sweet Spot, Chocolate Epiphany, Maze, and Happy in the Kitchen :) And my magazines of course!

  • katie September 21, 2008, 1:42 pm

    What a wonderful way to spend the weekend!
    600 pages of sauces? I would never again be at a loss…. Maybe

  • lisa September 23, 2008, 8:41 am

    I just read Sweets: Soul Food Desserts and Memories and really enjoyed it. Entertaining Simple sounds great.

  • Min September 25, 2008, 11:00 am

    How does one become a cookbook reviewer? I’d love to receive recently published cookbooks out of the blue! I have quite an extensive collection…but it seems like I always “need” one or two more…

  • Allen September 25, 2008, 5:51 pm

    To become a cookbook reviewer, contact any publisher with whom you’d like to work. From their websites you can usually find a link with instructions on how members of the media can apply for review copies.

    Although publishers typically work with newspapers and larger media sources, they are becoming much more open to working with relevant bloggers.

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