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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seasonal Menus for Groups of 8 to 12
This is a very nicely done, inch thick, hardcover book. More than just a menu book it contains cookware recommendations, as you'd expect from ATK, and an extremely useful list of "Emergency Substitutions." For example, you can substitute cake flour with a combination of AP flour and cornstarch, or buttermilk with milk and lemon juice or white vinegar. It also contains...
Published on October 18, 2011 by J. Holton

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131 of 139 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but impractical
I consider myself a pretty good cook but a pretty bad chef. While I can cook individual dishes very well, I'm not so good at creating menus. Even with a six-burner stove, I find it hard to juggle the preparation of several things at the same time, and I frequently get confused. So, I was excited to receive my copy of America's Test Kitchen's "Menu Cookbook", a book...
Published on October 21, 2011 by Stephen Sykes


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131 of 139 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but impractical, October 21, 2011
By 
Stephen Sykes (Rockville, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
I consider myself a pretty good cook but a pretty bad chef. While I can cook individual dishes very well, I'm not so good at creating menus. Even with a six-burner stove, I find it hard to juggle the preparation of several things at the same time, and I frequently get confused. So, I was excited to receive my copy of America's Test Kitchen's "Menu Cookbook", a book that appeared to be aimed directly at me.

The book consists of 51 menus -- 10 for each of the four seasons of the year plus 11 "Celebration and Holiday" menus. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, apparently you get to take a week off. Most of the seasonal menus serve 8 people, while the celebration menus serve 12. Each menu contains an estimate of the amount of time each component recipe should along with pictures, drawings and descriptions. In fact, the illustrations are a little better than ATK's previous books.

At a minimum each menu consists of an appetizer, an entrée, a side and a dessert. But, some menus are more exotic. The "Tapas Party", for example, contains seven courses. The recipes appear to be pulled straight from "Cook's Illustrated" and "The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook", but I haven't compared them one-for-one. In other words, they don't appear to be simplified in any way.

And therein lies the problem. Although a rationale is presented for why each recipe works, there is no rationale for why each menu works. How do you coordinate the cooking, presentation and consumption of simultaneous dishes? Short of preparing some of the dishes the day before, the book offers no guidance. There's no indication of the best order for things to be prepared. There's no discussion of how to hold one dish hot while you're preparing another or how to avoid needing two different oven temperatures at the same time (a problem evident in the very first menu). An integrated timeline would have been a good addition.

This feature has always been the weakness of Test Kitchen recipes. Although magnificently optimized, they're also time-heavy, making it difficult to prepare more than one item at once. They seem to assume you have a staff. For example, how am I supposed to prepare a 15-ingredient entrée while serving the appetizer? Who prepares the intricately timed dessert while we all eat the entrée together? Do I ever get to sit with my guests, or should I just stay in the kitchen?

Hence, I'm left to conclude that the central premise of the book has been poorly addressed. In spite of the jacket assertion that the book contains "...strategies that guarantee less stress", I found very few. Maybe this information reveals itself once you start cooking, but I'm reluctant to take the risk with a room full of guests.

Addendum 3/1/2012 - I just learned that when I ordered this book, I failed to realize that I had inadvertently signed up to receive preview copies of all of ATK's future books. I can't begin to tell you how much I object to this "Book of the Month Club" strategy. It's cheap and below the dignity of a previously high-quality enterprise.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seasonal Menus for Groups of 8 to 12, October 18, 2011
By 
J. Holton (Cincinnati, OH USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
This is a very nicely done, inch thick, hardcover book. More than just a menu book it contains cookware recommendations, as you'd expect from ATK, and an extremely useful list of "Emergency Substitutions." For example, you can substitute cake flour with a combination of AP flour and cornstarch, or buttermilk with milk and lemon juice or white vinegar. It also contains "11th Hour Recipes" separate from the menus in case something goes wrong at the last minute (dropped cake, etc.). There are a total of 51 menus with a total of 250 recipes. Each menu is portioned to serve 8, although the holiday menus serve 12. The menus are organized by season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Celebrations and Holidays. Each menu contains 4 to 5 courses, and contains a "game plan" for what to cook ahead and what to do the day of, and info for timing. No other ATK books I know of do that, nor do they arrange courses for you to keep things interesting for the guests. I can only see someone complaining about this is they prefer to plan all this themselves. If so, why buy the book anyway? I've included a full list of the menus below. These do not contain all the recipes for the menus because that would take a long time to type out.

==Spring==
Elegant Salmon Dinner
Shrimp Dinner with Greek Flavors
Farmer's Market Vegetarian Dinner
Rustic Pork Stew Dinner
Rack of Lamb Dinner
Classic Beef Tenderloin Dinner
Dressing Up Chicken
A Taste of Spain
Casual Pan-Latin Supper
Tapas Party

==Summer==
Dinner from the Garden
Eastern Shore Crab and Corn Cake Supper
Easy Halibut Dinner
Southern Fried Chicken Dinner
Mexican Fiesta
Mediterranean Flank Steak Supper
Easy Grilled Chicken Dinner
Fajitas and 'Ritas
Middle Eastern Shish Kebab Dinner
Grilled Shrimp Dinner

==Fall==
Rustic Tuscan Supper
Little Italy Pasta Supper
New York-Style Pizza Party
Provencal Bistro Dinner
Farmhouse Chicken Dinner
Vegetarian Indian Night
Autumn Harvest Pork Dinner
Classic Roast Beef Supper
Refined Short Ribs Dinner
Japanese Salmon Dinner

==Winter==
Mushroom Pasta Supper
New England Cod and Potato Dinner
Family-Style Italian Sunday Supper
Easy and Elegant Cornish Game Hen Dinner
A Taste of India
Snowed-In Slow-Roasted Pork Supper
Hearty French Lamb Shank Dinner
Steakhouse Prime Rib Dinner
Belgian Stew Supper
Paella Night

==Celebrations and Holidays==
Lasagna Dinner for a Crowd
French Country Stew Supper
Exotic Chicken Tagine Dinner
Big Game Day Party
Fourth of July Block Party
Upscale Picnic Spread
Sunday Brunch Celebration
Spring Leg of Lamb
Holiday Ham Dinner
New Year's Eve Blowout
Classic Thanksgiving Dinner

My only complaint is that the book is not spiral bound, so you need a weight to keep it open. It is sized like a coffee table book as the other reviewer noted. However, I don't understand why he gave this book three stars because he likes to talk to guests. It's obvious this book is about cooking for dinner parties. That's its goal, and that's what it accomplishes. If you want to be free to mingle or be center of attention then buy a book on hiring a caterer. If you enjoy cooking because it's how you show your love and gratitude for family/friends, then this book is for you. Besides, in my family people are always in the kitchen!

==Update==
I've since made several of these menus for large family gatherings. The relatives have been impressed! I've made the Thanksgiving, Holiday Ham, French Country Stew, and Rustic Italian dinners. Lots of raves. Overall, I've found that each menu has TOO MANY recipes. Five huge courses? Who is THAT hungry? Instead I pick and choose the ones that sound the best.

For example, on Christmas my family ate the menu on page 301: Ham/Carrots/Fennel/Red Potatoes, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Apricot-Almond Bundt Cake. Three recipes from that menu I did not do. I assembled the biscuits and baked the cake the day before. There were 3 other recipes, but I made a Brussels Sprouts with Pecans recipe from myrecipes.com instead. Brussels Sprouts provided a nice green color to the table and are in season. While the recipes stick fairly closely to the season, they are not strict. For Christmas there's a Baby Greens with Strawberries recipe. Strawberries in December? I know they're technically available, but still. For the French Country Stew I included baguettes from a local baker with Amish butter. That's not in the menu, but an easy and obvious addition that enhanced the meal by sopping up sauce.

These menus are not written in stone. They provide much inspiration, and are fantastic starting points. Are these five coursers too difficult? If you try to pull ALL of them off as written your dinner will be a bit over-the-top. Not impossible, but unnecessary in my opinion. Unlike other reviewers I am not put off by having too many choices. Instead, I see unused recipes as an opportunity to create another unique spin of that menu at some future date.

Overall, this book has taught me a lot about cooking for groups of 8 to 12, and boosted my cooking confidence. I began teaching myself how to cook a few years ago. The key is to make as much ahead of time as possible. Each menu has notes titled "The Game Plan," and these are crucial for your success. If you're short on time look for the "Even Easier" notes, which provide similar but fast recipes.
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53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but not for me, October 15, 2011
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This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
This is a beautiful book that has a better place on the coffee table than in the kitchen. The pictures are beautiful. The book is supposed to be for entertaining ("foolproof dinner parties!"), but I question making some of the menus for guests. Do you really want to be frying chicken when the guests are present? The New Year's Eve Blowout requires shucking oysters, roasting a tenderloin, broiling shrimp, mashing potatoes and cooking haricots verts at the last minute. But the tenderloin can be partially made ahead as can a sauce for the oysters and the dessert. I don't think this is a great way to entertain on New Year's Eve.
There are a few make-ahead stews, etc. as are most of the desserts. A very few main dish recipes can be made the day ahead (even the Lasagna must be made the morning of the party). Some recipes can be made 4 hours ahead and served at room temperature or reheated in the microwave. Many, many other recipes can be made 1 hour before serving. The menus would be great if I had a chef doing the work while I entertained my guests.
I have most of the Cook's Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country cookbooks. Many of the recipes are the same, or a slight variation, of previously published recipes.
If you buy this book, put it on the coffee table and let your guests look at the pictures. If you want to entertain as we do, (like spending most of the time with our guests) try Pam Anderson's "The Perfect Recipe for Having People Over" or any one of Diane Phillips "make-ahead" books.
I sent this one back.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trying to go less crazy, November 18, 2011
This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
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America's Test Kitchen has published this book, which they say on the cover, has "menus for foolproof dinner parties - 51 menus for every occasion plus strategies that guarantee less stress and better food".
Their definition of less stress did not meet mine. I would like to be able to give dinner parties during which the food could be made in advance or at least have clear instructions on preparing the several recipes at the same time; and definitely not be cooking and stirring 15 minutes before serving. There is very little instruction in here on preparing in advance and if your definition of a dinner party is more formal than stews, simple pasta dishes or such main course items as tostados, fajitas or pizza...just realize that there are quite a few dinner parties that are what I would call casual get togethers. There are dinner menus where the main course is halibut, shrimp, beef tenderloin, etc., also. So both styles of what they call dinner parties, casual and more formal are in here.

The book is divided into seasons; spring, summer, fall, winter with 10 menus each and celebrations and holidays with 11 menus. There is an introductory section that has the usual good Test Kitchen advice for a well-stocked kitchen (equipment) with suggestions of specific brands and appreciated recommendations of lower priced items. There are quick tips, that they also say make prep easier, such as; sharpening a knife, removing garlic skin, shredding soft cheese and "cleaver serving tricks" which include instructions for: making chocolate shavings, cleaning sponges, don't forget to wash the sink.

Along the way, throughout the book are also clear diagrams...preparing salmon for roasting, assembling tiramisu, etc... One glaring omission of a picture of how it should look is in the recipe for stuffed beef tenderloin, they, instead chose to show how shrimp would look sitting on a plate. Most could probably use a picture of the tenderloin for a better guide.
Most recipes have pictures and the usual; inserts of why this recipe works and substitutions that can be made; although I expected more specific instructions on how to pull all of the menu suggestions together - at once in order to create this "stress free" party. They were not there.
There are conversion charts and equivalences and an index.

When we made the farmer's market dinner for 8 with 4 menu items, 2 could be prepared mostly in advance. But then in the last 30 minutes, just before serving you have to toast the bruschetta - under the broiler just before serving and of course finalize and mix your spring vegetable pasta. Also immediately before serving you have to unwrap your prepared goat cheese, coat with oil spray, bake until nuts are brown - at 475 degrees and served immediately (I get a little stressed trying to use the same oven, I only have 1 - to broil and bake and serve immediately), whisk the vinaigrette, drizzle, divide salad and plate it. That's an awful lot to do in the last few minutes, even with guests helping. This doesn't count the 2 hours of prep for the goat cheese, making the bruschetta topping and preparing leeks, asparagus, which even with two of us preparing, one playing sous chef went over the 1 ˝ hour prep time.

For the most part, this is a nice book; but I have to admit I was expecting more help and guidance that the Test Kitchen seems to pride itself on, especially in assembling several recipes together for a dinner party.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Involved Menus for the Serious Cook and Entertainer, November 5, 2011
This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a beautiful book as well as helpful by America's Test Kitchen. The beginning of the book lists items you may need for a well stocked kitchen. They explain how the kitchen items are used. They have a section on quick tips that make your food preparation easier. Also there is an emergency substitution list which is wonderful for the items you may have forgotten to pick up at the store. The rest of the book is full of menus divided up by the season. Each menu includes at least one picture which I find extremely helpful in a cookbook. Each recipe includes a small paragraph on why the recipe works. I love the little explanations. They are both helpful and informative.

My daughter and I chose a Fall menu, Farmhouse Chicken Dinner. We chose this one as we thought it was one of the easier menus in the book. Our menu consisted of Rustic Breaded Chicken with Brussels Sprouts, Honeyed Goat Cheese with Spice Walnuts and Figs, Herbed Barley Pilaf, and Autumn Pear Crumble. We found the chicken, the goat cheese and the pear crumble to be delicious and fairly easy to prepare. We had to substitute apples for the figs in the goat cheese recipe which was a suggestion made by the cookbook if figs were not available. We thought the pilaf could have been more flavorful if chicken stock had been used in the cooking process instead of water. The chicken was soaked in a brine which I had never done before and was very tender and juicy! I will be using that recipe again! The recipes in the menu were a nice compliment to each other.

I am not a beginner cook. I would say I am a everyday household cook. The menu took us all afternoon to prepare, a good 5 hours. The recipes all have several steps. There are some things that could be done a day ahead of time which they have been kind enough to point out in the book. I do wish there had been a timeline in the book telling me what I should be working on and in what order. The recipes are just listed and not necessarily in the order of how you should prepare them. At one point I had two things in the oven and needed to put a third item in there at a different temperature. The recipes were lovely but if I had been making this for a dinner party, I would have missed all the fun. These are recipes that will keep you in the kitchen. They are very involved. There are many other recipes I wish to try out of this cookbook but I don't think I would tackle a full menu again. I was exhausted after making a full menu.

I enjoyed many of the recipes in this book and all the helpful tips. If you love being in the kitchen for hours on end, you may like this cookbook. I think this is a cookbook for the serious entertainer or advanced home chef. It is not a practical cookbook by any means.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three and a half.., November 4, 2011
By 
G. Kellner (Westfield, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
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As many people have already mentioned, this is a beautiful cookbook. It's a beautiful book to curl up and read...to cook out of it, I would want to photocopy the recipe, or write it down in longhand, because the book is fairly large and it doesn't lie flat. I was going to choose a menu, make it, and then write this review, really I was. However, as we were not throwing a dinner party anytime soon and have two sons (11 and 13), a few things became apparent:

1)This book is not kid friendly. That's not really a criticism--the book doesn't present itself as being for kids at all--however, in case you ever give a dinner party where kids are invited, just keep it in mind.
2)I might be the only person who would notice this, but a lot of these recipes have alcohol in them. My husband is a recovering alcoholic, and yes, he does realize the alcohol burns off in the cooking, but he still doesn't like eating anything with the essence of alchohol in it. Another thing to keep in mind just in case you are or are inviting friends of Bill's to your dinner party.
3)Some of the recipes are lovely and can be made for a family--for example, Grilled flank steak with grilled veggies and salsa verde, Spaghetti with roasted cherry tomatoes, capers, olives and pine nuts--and I will probably try these.
4)I did appreciate the illustrated tips, on things that cookbooks tend to assume you know but in reality, you have no idea. Trimming a lamb rack, what to do with fennel, trussing a chicken--all things I know where to look if I need them.

It's a beautiful book--it would make a nice gift. Even to yourself, if you really like to cook or read cookbooks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tested and Perfect Menus Make Entertaining Easy, November 1, 2011
This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
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For several years I was a home test cook for America's Test Kitchens (ATK). It was always the thrill to see a recipe that I (along with many others) had tested six months earlier make it to the TV show or magazine. In addition, it was proof that they actually DO test and test and test their recipes until they are just right. I know when I need a recipe for a specific item that the ones from ATK are reliably good and delicious, even if they are sometimes complex. I own many of their cookbooks and use them more than any others (except the 40 year old Betty Crocker!)

Now ATK has come up with a solution to a major problem for many cooks -- what to serve for your dinner party that is reliable (ATK always is) and different (not the old stand by dinner) and "goes together" for a balanced and delicious menu. This book is the answer and whether you are entertaining your family, the new neighbors, the boss or the church youth group there is sure to be a menu here that will fill the bill. Organized by seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter) and with an extra chapter for celebrations and holidays there are casual and more formal menus to fit every need. Some are easy and/or classic while others (vegetarian Indian night) might fit the more adventurous palate. The first chapter addresses some kitchen and cooking basics like the contents of a well stocked pantry, and what to do with 11th hour and emergency dinner parties. By matching and balancing all the courses of each meal, you know that the colors, flavors and textures will go together well and leave your family and guests satisfied.

This cookbook will quickly become a go to in my kitchen and I am thrilled to have something that will help me plan menues for every occasion.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart., October 31, 2011
This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
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This cookbook is gorgeous, carefully thought out menus arranged by season, full color photos, step by step directions and illustrations on techniques for preparation - it's wonderful. It will look great on my coffee table. Will it get use in my kitchen - Sadly no.

This cookbook is NOT for someone who is a beginner cook, or even for someone who has cooked for years and is a good cook but is used to cooking "standard" family meals and is looking to take the first steps to branch out a little. This is book I think is geared for an already gourmet cook, who is well versed in a variety of cooking styles and ingredients, but maybe is having problems pairing foods together properly. So I would say this is a fairly targeted audience.

The menus are very intricate, and although there are plenty of make ahead options the menus still require many ingredents and lots of work the day of your event. If you are an experienced cook and not a novice I think this will be a great cookbook, but for the novice this will only induce a panic attack - unless they were to practice a certain menu ahead of time to get a dry run before the main event.

I note some recipes also call for two different oven temperatures for menus at the same time, so unless you have a double oven, you're going to be out of luck unless you are skilled enough to modify a recipe on your own with confidence.

I did however love the color photos, the tips, and the helpful hints section. There was also a rustic bread recipe that is very simular to one I already make, but their version used beer as the liquid and I think I will adopt that into my recipe in the future. So there are a lot of great things about this cookbook but it isn't for me so I could only give it 3 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously Effective Cooking Primer on Preparing Successful Dinner Parties for All Occasions, December 26, 2012
This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
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Now in its 12th season, the PBS staple "America's Test Kitchen" hosted by the avuncular if somewhat prickly Christopher Kimball, founder of Cook's Illustrated magazine, introduced a science-class aesthetic to recipes and cooking techniques that have been proven successful through trial and error. Their comprehensive ring-bound cooking manuals (The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and at least three follow-up variations) have effectively reflected that approach in a print format, and now this hardbound, 344-page book takes it a step further by providing appetizing photographs and a glossy finish. The focus this time is on organizing the foolproof dinner party for eight to twelve people by preparing dishes ahead of time in order for you to be more present with your guests as they arrive. The editors have pulled together 51 different menus - ten for each season plus eleven holiday celebrations - all with well-coordinated themes that should satisfy a variety of palates.

Before the book gets into the detail of the menus, it starts with an excellent introductory section that describes what a well-stocked kitchen should have from multi-purpose appliances to simple utensils, provides quick tips ranging from sharpening knives to washing raspberries, and shares time-saving tricks to help you serve your guests efficiently and while cleaning up your cooking messes along the way. There's even a troubleshooting guide to deal with emergencies like what to do when your pan catches on fire or if your roast is still too pink on the inside. I particularly appreciate the three pages devoted to 11th Hour Recipes when circumstances beyond your control force you to get creative at the last minute with appetizers, sides, salad dressings and desserts. Starting on page 19, the seasonal menus begin with Spring. The Rustic Pork Stew Dinner on page 37 was a success for me with rosemary & garlic white bean dip as an appetizer; pork stew with fennel, leeks & prunes as the main course; buttered egg noodles and roasted beet and carrot salad as the sides, and a French silk chocolate pie for dessert.

The Summer section contains great ethnic menus with the Mediterranean Flank Steak Supper (page 107) and the Middle East Shish Kebab Dinner (page 125) providing especially savory delights that should please the discriminating foodies among your friends. The Fall menus introduce plenty of comfort food choices that should satisfy appetites heightened by the brisk weather with a terrific Refined Short Ribs Dinner (page 181) and one of my personal favorites, the New York-Style Pizza Party (page 151) which allows you to create four different thin-crust pizzas, including two vegetarian options. Winter brings some really hearty selections including a meaty Steakhouse Prime Rib Dinner (page 233) and a Paella Night (page 245). For the more ambitious, the Celebrations and Holidays section adds even more dishes per menu and covers all the more popular events you are likely to plan as well as a full Thanksgiving feast and an elegant New Year's Eve party. This is a great resource for the host(ess) who wants to leave the best impression possible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, great pictures, needed more details., October 26, 2011
This review is from: The America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook: Your Guide to Hosting Stress-Free Dinner Parties and Holiday Feasts (Hardcover)
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This is a 51 week menu cookbook that includes an appetizer, entree, sides and a dessert. The menus are divided by season and then by celebration. I liked that it did include winter vegetables in the winter menus vs. some year round cookbooks that have you buying fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter. I think if you have the Cooks Illustrated Holiday cookbook you probably will have most of the recipes from this cookbook, it looks amazingly similar.
This is a hardbound book with glossy pages and pictures of many of the prepared foods, but not all. There are pencil sketches that show you have to carve prime rib, or debeard mussels, or top the almond cake, etc.
The Lasagna dinner for a crowd (serves 12), starts with a pesto and sun-dried tomato cheese terrine which you're suppose to make a day in advance. Next comes the tomato, olive and basil skewers which it says takes 45 minutes and you do that the day of. The hearty vegetable lasagna has you prepping the sauces and vegetables the day before and then assembling and baking 2 hours before. With the addition of a Caesar salad with homemade croutons and dressing with anchovies plus a Tiramisu dessert that's your meal. While the recipe does not give you specific timetables of when to do what it does indicate the time needed for each course plus which ones you can make in advance and how far in advance.
Overall, the cookbook delivers on what it says, it would make a great wedding gift. All the recipes are for 8-12 people. Pages are glossy and will wipe clean.
I prefer the party cookbook Do It for Less! Parties: Tricks of the Trade from Professional Caterers' Kitchens as it has recipe adjustments from 8-36 people. And it also has a better outline of the time table necessary to keep things moving while you still get to enjoy your party.
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