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Perfect Party Food: All the Recipes and Tips You'll Ever Need for Stress-Free Entertaining from the Diva of Do-Ahead Paperback – October 5, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press; New edition edition (October 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558322604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558322608
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 7.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If readers walk away with just one lesson from this hulking volume, it's that planning is essential when you're entertaining guests. Cooking teacher Phillips reinforces that point throughout this manual, in both her recipes and her miscellaneous advice on setting a table, arranging food and more. She includes more than 600 recipes, each one serving 10 to 12 guests, and each containing do-ahead components that can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen (many recipes can be completely cooked advance). The recipes are generally simple, though no less appealing, and include dips and spreads, "small bites" like Pigs in a Blanket and Prosciutto Pinwheels, salads, side dishes, main dishes, breads, beverages and desserts (there's also a chapter on breakfast and brunch). Phillips's advice on how much food readers will need is helpful, as are her "diva rescues" tips (e.g., what to do if extra people show up for the party; if your rice burns; if your layer cake "looks like Mt. Etna erupting"; etc.). Encompassing casual, "grazing," holiday, informal and elegant events, this book will be essential for novices and may also teach some old dogs new tricks. Illus. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Party is a five-letter word almost guaranteed to generate shock and awe among many would-be hosts and guests alike. But the self-acclaimed "diva of do-ahead" just might soothe the minds and spirits of those contemplating more-than-two entertaining. First, no cuisine is ignored; more than 500 recipes representing traditional and not-so-well-known ethnic dishes stand ready for selection. Second, there is plenty of advance preparation, with icons indicating five kinds of get-togethers (casual, grazing, holiday, informal, and elegant), basics, pantry and equipment necessities, plus emergency rescues. (No dessert? Serve ice cream with a choice of pour-over liqueurs.) Third, there are tips and shortcuts for recipe parts that can easily be completed and frozen or refrigerated. Nothing truly out of the ordinary, unless such choices as roasted beet salad and creole vinaigrette count as unusual, but a good foundation for great food outcomes. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Welcome to my Amazon.com profile page. I'm the author of 14 cookbooks including the James Beard Award nominated Perfect Party Food. I travel and teach do-ahead entertaining and cooking classes all over the country and in the Dordogne region of France. Teaching is my passion and I love being able to do something that I love that includes meeting my readers and students all over the country. Check out my website www.dianephillips.com for my fall class schedule featuring my next book: Slow Cooker; The Best Cookbook Ever, information about La Combe en Perigord, travel tips, and do-ahead entertaining tools. Follow me at my blog: www.cucinadivina.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

This book is one of the best ones I have ever purchased!
Kathleen Levine
When it comes to those other entertainment aspects, this book is chock full of great hints and tips for preparing for your party.
Chocolate Zoom Magazine
The make ahead dishes are quick, easy and taste delicious.
Judy A. Wheatman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Louise R. Andres on December 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This cook is the star of my 300+ cookbook collection. The James Beard Foundation recognized it by nominating it for an award in 2006, which is a measure of its quality. I got it almost a year ago, find it fascinating just to read, and cook from it often.

I have entertained from it for two brunches (the Bloody Marys and the Peach Amaretto French toast are amazing. Oooo, and the coffee cake muffins!) - 14 people, and it was ready when they walked in the door. I have done spectacular tarts from it for a SuperBowl party. I have made Harry Belafonte bars for a neighborhood coffee klatch. I made scones and pineapple/coconut muffins for a meeting. I have done an entire dinner from it, and taken it to a friend whose husband had a stroke. In EVERY case, someone (and sometimes multiple people) asked me for one or more of the recipes, which I take as a fine measure of the quality of the recipes. AND - you get to enjoy your parties, because it is all done ahead, and you can be confident that everything will be delicious.

I have also found this book to be an excellent resource for taking food to those who have a new baby, a family crisis or an illness. It gives you the ability to finish a great dish up to the point that it goes into the oven, then take to someone with directions that say "put in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes then enjoy!"
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on November 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's not necessary to read Phillips' party-planner introduction, but you may find it steadying, even reassuring with its calm, well-organized timeline, lists and tips. The book's easy-on-the-eyes graphic design allows for quick browsing and the color-coded highlights and eye-catching symbols continue on through the recipes. An appendix includes mail-order sources and "stress-free" menus for all occasions.

Recipes provide 10 to 12 servings, and all have at least some elements (even if it's only salad dressing or sauce) to prepare in advance. Phillips provides a table for multiplying recipes for larger parties, a list of essential tools and pantry items and an entertaining primer for rescuing disasters, from lumpy sauce to too many guests. She even gives her email for last minute disaster aversion.

Brief intros to each dish suggest variations and describe the dish's character. Step-by-step instructions pause at "do-ahead" points, and give instructions for how, and how long, to store, be it a few hours, days, or even months.

From drinks (Mulled Wine, Margaritas) through appetizers (Marinated Shrimp, Pigs in a Blanket) salads (Marinated Orange, Chicken Waldorf), sides (Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Wild Mushroom Rice), poultry (Tarragon Sesame, Oven Fried, French Farmhouse), seafood (Pesto-Crusted Fillets, New England Clam Pie, Seafood Gumbo), meat (Braised Beef in Cabernet Sauvignon, Swedish Meatballs, Pulled Pork Barbecue), to dessert (Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake, Chocolate Truffles), Phillips emphasizes accessibility, be it sit-down elegant or grazing casual.

A versatile sauce chapter, from Cilantro Pesto to Quick Berry, offers a choice of serving suggestions and Phillips ("The Perfect Mix") also includes chapters for breakfast and lunch. Thoroughly unintimidating and full of useful advice beyond food preparation, this is a practical, comforting guide to making entertaining a pleasure.

- Portsmouth Herald
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By C. D. FILKER on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Spending my time in the kitchen while entertaining is not my idea of a good time. So when I saw this cookbook, I was anxious to purchase it and try the recipes! I have made several recipes in this book and they have all been excellent. The recipes are easy to follow, delicious and creative, with ingredients that I usually have in my pantry or are easily found at the store. The recipes feature a lot of fresh veggies, herbs and quality ingredients making the recipes fresh and healthy. There are not a lot of high fat, high salt ingredients called for. I love the fact that all of the recipes have steps that can be done in advance that will allow me to have most everything prepped and ready to go before company comes. I find myself referring to it over and over. Great find!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Bowden Thomas on October 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think this is a great book. I love the do-ahead aspect to every recipe, and the ingredient lists are not super long and contain ingredients that are easy to find. I made the chopped salad and the bread pudding for my last party and they received rave reviews. It was also the easiest dinner party I'd hosted because the reipes can be done before guests arrive. The only thing I wish is that all the chicken recipes were not for boneless chicken breasts, but most people like them and they are probably good for a picky crowd. This is my favorite party book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chocolate Zoom Magazine on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
If what you are looking for is just a cookbook, then Perfect Party Food definitely provides that, with between 5-600 scrumptious recipes from which to choose. However, this is much more than just a cookbook!

Not only does the author Diane Phillips present appetizing recipes, all the recipes included in this 704-page volume are quick and easy to prepare, so you can focus on the other aspects of preparing to entertain for guests. When it comes to those other entertainment aspects, this book is chock full of great hints and tips for preparing for your party.

Whether your party is small get-together of close friends or a larger party with a long guest list, this "Diva of Do-Ahead" helps the reader have everything planned and prepared from the beginning, so there are no surprises. But she doesn't stop there! Ms. Phillips also provides information she calls "Diva Tips" to assist you in case the unexpected happens, such as having extra guests show up, last minute quick items in case one of your dishes splats on the floor, and how to salvage cooking mistakes and make presentable appetizers from them.

Each recipe is categorized and marked with the type of party for which that dish is best suited. There are five categories from which to choose: casual, grazing, holiday, informal, and elegant. Each of these categories contains traditional foods the reader would expect to find in a party preparation and meal-planning guide, but this book takes it a step further. For the more adventurous party planners, Perfect Party Food also offers a variety of non-traditional and ethnic recipes to appeal to your wild side of party planning.

Simply put, Perfect Party Food, by Diane Phillips is much more than just your regular garden variety cookbook. It truly is a complete party planning guide, suitable for the novice party planner to the seasoned party throwing veteran.

Chocolate Zoom Magazine
[...]
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