Customer Reviews: I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
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on November 23, 2006
Partially a cookbook, partially a primer about entertaining and partially the random thoughts of an eccentric actress/caterer, I LIKE YOU is Amy Sedaris's hilarious guide to hospitality.

Recommended for those who enjoy attending parties and people who get a kick out of hosting them, this is a quirky book that succeeds in offering valuable information while charming the pants off the reader. In this way, it accurately could be described as the bodice ripper of cookbooks.

Chock full of photographs, illustrations, notes and invitations, I LIKE YOU can be enjoyed by randomly opening it to any page, but I can guarantee that if you start it from the beginning, you will find yourself engrossed in Sedaris's simple, tasty party chow and quirky but valuable tips and anecdotes about:

* Party Strategy

The second you decide to throw a party start making ice. Sedaris calls buying a bag of it "cheating."

* The Guest List

If everyone is the same, the party is a boring convention. Still you should avoid toxic combinations, like an astrologer and an astronomer, the newly divorced couple, and a serial killer and a drunken teenager.

* Invitations

Be specific about time, location and themes so guests can dress appropriately. If you don't RSVP immediately, hosts will worry you are waiting for a better offer.

* Etiquette

Don't arrive early unless specifically asked to. But do arrive on time, especially for a dinner party. Depending upon the host, consider practical gifts like toilet paper and stamps. If you want to bring wine, ask the hostess what she is planning to serve and bring a bottle of that. If you want to be graceful in an old world sort of way, send a bouquet of flowers the following day.

* Adult Proof Your House

Assume guests will snoop. Plan ahead and fill your medicine cabinet with marbles.

* Try to Turn a Profit

Capitalize on the chance to sell things to a house full of liquored up, generous guests. Set up a table of things you are selling for 25 cents. A strict hostess Sedaris has three rules for party sales: 1) it has to be a quarter, not two dimes and a nickel; 2) you break it, you buy it; and 3) you buy it, you take it away.

Plus completely unrelated to cooking or hospitality, I LIKE YOU covers an array of other idiosyncratic suggestions about curling your eyelashes, staining your lips with cherry popsicles, removing hair color from your forehead, entertaining the elderly, proper rabbit care and the basics of grooming, handicrafts and gift giving. For all of these reasons, I wish I could give it ten stars.

- Regina McMenamin
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on October 27, 2006
I have been enjoying Amy Sedaris's freaky-weird acting for years, so I had to snatch up this book the second I heard it was out. And, man oh man, I have been laughing for days. This is one addictive book, like a paper drug. I woke up this morning, and instead of thinking about my husband or cats or breakfast or my job, I imagined Amy Sedaris trying on pantyhose, and I thought "No Squirrels." (You'll understand after you read the book.) Then I wondered how on earth I would achieve that baked Alaska featured in her book.

This lady works comedic magic with this book. I have never, ever, ever read or seen anything like this strange book.

Yes, there is a plethora of valuable tips and recipes for entertaining, but the way Amy presents the info is nothing short of comic genius. The pictures are all gold. And her writing is rickety and charming. And wait till you find the secret poster! You will buy a locker just so you can hang it up!

Mark my word, this book will be *the* gift to give this holiday season. It is destined to make Amy Sedaris a household name. Plus, it is extremely useful and entertaining.
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on October 12, 2006 had me at "IdespiseAndreaHarner", but you are right on all other accounts.

Miss Amy has done something really special this time, and it shows!

First off, this book is HUGE! I hadn't imagined how thick it would be- it is literally jammed packed with everything you can imagine (and more, WAY more) from our hostess extraordinaire. The hard cover edition is solid as a rock, nothing flimsy about it.

The recipes indeed appear to be "JACKPOT" and crowd pleasing-I cant wait to try them out. The scrap book feel to this book is ever-present, with zany crafts, priceless photos (old and new) and authentically stained recipe cards in scrawling print surrounding the main text. The party ideas and themed night suggestions are off-beat and creative. It is a much beloved addition to my Sedaris collection.
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on November 27, 2006
If you like Amy Sedaris's quirky sense of humor (e.g., Strangers with Candy), and you're into kitsch, then I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence is just the book for you this holiday season. If you avoid Comedy Central, however, and are uncomfortable around irony-laden humor, you best steer clear because Amy Sedaris's new book is a rollicking romp through tongue-in-cheek entertaining, far more amusing and satisfying than anything Martha Stewart could devise.

Armed with her own brand of humor and a bottle of liquor, Sedaris is ready for any situation, from the unexpected guest to a death in the family. She explains in detail how to write invitations, plan a menu (by color, texture, theme, flavor, or decoration), and get guests mingling. But she also includes aspects of party throwing you may not have considered, such organizing some sale items to make a little money for yourself. Sedaris insists that she lets guests have their picture taken with her pet rabbit for 25 cents. Also, consider avoiding the following guest combinations: astrologer and astronomer, psychologist and psychiatrist, and serial killer and drunken teenager.

Sedaris offers numerous recipes throughout the book, including some favorites from her Greek family. From "I Remember the War Cube Steak" for entertaining the elderly to spanakopita for a New Year's Day brunch, you'll have the crowd clamoring for more.

You'll also find plenty of comical desserts like the heart-shaped cake that says "Stepmother" and the "Happy Coming Out" cake in the form of a butterfly. Of course, no meal is complete without Amy Sedaris herself covered in icing and sprinkles, and she gives us just that. (Be sure to check out the poster inside the cover for the pin-up version.)

Throughout the book, Sedaris dresses in dated polyester outfits and drops hints on everything from how to put on pantyhose to how to wear a fall (woman's long hairpiece).

The photos (by Todd Oldham, no less) and illustrations are hilarious, and even the book jacket will have you wiping your eyes.

Armchair Interviews says: Surely, we all know someone this book would be perfect for.
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on November 28, 2006
This book is awesome- I bought it for a friend for christmas and as soon as it was delivered I ended up reading the whole thing myself! I bought it for a friend who enjoys throwing parties (as I do). The recipes seemed good, and the writing was unmistakeably Sedaris! Even if the food is crap, this book is worth every penny as a conversation piece/entertaining read.
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on December 13, 2006
I had no idea what to expect other than humor, obviously.

This book has information on etiquette and manners, classic recipes, social suggestions, and tips in areas you would never expect. You can read it cover to cover, or open any page and start new every time. I have to mention the ridiculous (in a good way) photography, illustrations and various notes that dot each spread. A refreshing compilation.
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It's pretty obvious Amy Sedaris and I come from the same generation because her harmlessly subversive sense of humor and kitsch-driven cultural references feel very cathartic to me. With photos and narration that reflect the becalming tone of kitchen counter magazines like Sunset and Better Homes and Gardens circa 1967, this hilariously off-kilter satire of Martha Stewart's "Entertaining" books has the familiar comic actress in a new guise, the perfect party hostess, though Jerri Blank (her put-upon protagonist in "Strangers With Candy") does show up in the book. Sedaris is smart enough to know the book cannot be a complete satire, so she actually includes honest-to-goodness recipes. The zucchini fritters and the "Li'l Smokey Cheeseball" bring particular flashbacks to me of what my mother would have served at her mah jong parties as they watched "Mannix".

It's the faux-patronizing context and wholly unappetizing photos where she gets to express the dry and sometimes twisted Sedaris wit. For example, the author has a chapter devoted to the particulars of entertaining lumberjacks. I especially like the idea of filling one's medicine cabinet with marbles to catch nosey guests in the act of examining the host's medications. Moreover, she gives etiquette pointers like not divulging a friend's inability to conceive during a guest introduction, and sound advice on what textures to have on your party platters -"crunchy will always punch up soggy," but "never have bumpy and lumpy on the same plate". Sedaris' deadpan approach and over-the-top images are exactly the tweak your lifestyle cookbook collection needs. I am hopeful that a TV series will follow whether it's on the Food Network or Comedy Central.
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VINE VOICEon November 23, 2006
I wanted to wait a while before writing a review for this wonderful book. I read it cover-to-cover after receiving my copy from Amazon. I wanted to make sure it's as fantabulous as it seemed on first read.

As a lifestyle book, the hints are sometimes cheeky-snarky and sometimes serious and practical. As a humor book, Sedaris hits the mark just about every time. Visually, the layout is great and the art is varied and fun (I can't decide which I prefer: the photos or the illustrations). You can read the book repeatedly and still catch new things each time.

For me, this book has worked best as a cookbook. I've tried several of the recipes and only had one that didn't turn out (the Swiss cheese puffs). The cheeseballs have been especially wonderful. I have learned a lot from the tips and tricks and have relaxed about cooking. The 15 minute meals in 20 minutes section seems silly at first glance but provides some groundwork for basic cooking that I think even seasoned cooks can use.

What I learned from the book was about relaxing, whether in terms of cooking, entertaining or just life in general. I was never an uptight cook or baker but I often felt that entertaining was a lot of pressure. My teachers ranged from my mother to Martha Stewart, neither of whom would suggest a sombrero with a brimful of chips = Fiesta Night. This book has given me confidence in entertaining and cooking. Who knew that you could make "fruit salad" with a can of fruit cocktail and a little Cool Whip?

I don't know how there could be any kind of follow-up book, since this one is so jam-packed, but I hope there is. Only complaint: Not all the pages were numbered (what's that about?) but that problem was easily solved with a mini-Sharpie. It's not even worth docking a star.
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on October 17, 2006
I don't think a book about entertaining has ever made me laugh to the point of tears before! Seeing peanuts! Gift ideas for nuns! Dad come home cake! Change your medicine chest from herbal remedies to something that works! The section on guest etiquette is priceless and hits the nail on the head. Todd Oldham's photography with its lurid lighting/drab hues is amazing. And the children's games section alone is worth twice the price of the book.
This isn't kitsch of the moment--this defines an edge of humor that deserves a spotlight. Amy Sedaris gets it! Cheers to her and her wonderful book. It is a generous, warm, inspiring and hysterically funny treasure that knocked me over with happiness. I will enjoy it for years.
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on October 31, 2006
This book is raunchy, scatterbrained, offensive, and absolutely hilarious. What a purchase! Amy Sedaris has created a book on entertaining that is as freakishly detailed as her home decor. Every square inch of the book (including the book jacket/centerfold) is overflowing with absurd drawings, photos, recipes, crafts, family memories, and helpful hints, such as, "Gift Ideas for Early Menopause." The tone is of a 1960s cookbook with a narcotics problem. Although this is the type of book you want to curl up with and have a laugh - it is actually useful! The recipes are delicious (try the Tiddlywinks Toadstool Pie *yum*) and the entertaining tips take the pretentiousness out of throwing parties. Go Amy!
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