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Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day Hardcover – October 12, 2004

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Well-known caterer Bass’s first book is a rare mixture of good food, great stories and truly unique style; just the right combination to make it a big hit with cookbook fans. From instructions on cooking up an English breakfast complete with Fried Bread and Caramelized Tomatoes to directions for a cocktail party with Salmon Gravlax Tartare on Crisp Potato Slices and Rope Burn drinks, Bass provides the inspiration and directions for entertaining at home. Although there’s an English basis to her cooking (she suggests Sausage Rolls and Drop Scones for high tea), Bass’s easy-going style is familiarly American; she says her cooking is best described as "perfect ingredients, simply cooked, on pretty plates." The stories about her life are winning and sound surprisingly authentic. Describing a pasta dish cooked by her independent older sisters, she writes: "Early on in the month it was full of chicken, mid-month it was canned tuna, and toward the end of the month, clever things would be done with herbs." The advice she offers on both recipes and presentation is equally down-to-earth and sensible, but filled with an admirable joie de vivre. The only problem with the book is a designer’s decision to oddly highlight, in two different colors and typefaces, seemingly random words and phrases. It’s eye-catching in the worst of ways. But such a little flaw hardly keeps this delightful book from being the equal of M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child and Laurie Colwin at their best. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

London-born SERENA BASS is a high-profile caterer based in New York City. In addition to her successful catering business, she is the namesake behind Serena, the bar/lounge in the basement of the Chelsea Hotel, which she opened in 1999 and has since sold. This is her first book.

DAVID LOFTUS is a widely published food and wine photographer. He is well known for his work with celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Tamasin Day-Lewis, and his books include Island Life: Inspirational Interiors (STC).

London-based photographer ANDRA NELKI specializes in editorial and promotional photography. Her work is in the collections of such museums as Tate Britain and the National Gallery of Wales.

Illustrator and photographer DAVID CROLAND is based in New York City. His work has appeared in many major periodicals including Vogue, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; First Edition edition (October 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584793473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584793472
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. L. Gallop on March 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge fan of eating but not cooking - and I loved this book (and am making my boyfriend, who does like cooking, do all the recipes for me...) The photographs are mouthwatering, the recipes the perfect blend of comfort and posh food, and Serena's own life stories entertaining and moving. Plus I love the large amounts of highly practical advice scattered throughout about how to entertain, serve and hostess effectively - lots of things I would never have thought of but which make fantastically good sense. Highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Food Fan on November 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book; a clever combination of entertaining stories and delicious recipes. She explains in detail how to make each dish in a way that is quite approachable to people who do not cook regularly. The photographs are fun and make the food look amazing. I know people who have had Serena Bass cater their weddings and functions in New York City, they all rave about her and her food. I brought a copy of the book and so many people who have seen it love it. It seems to be tough to find in the stores, Amazon is the way to go! Strongly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on May 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A dinner party is not simply the food that you prepare. It is the care taken in the preparation, the friends with whom you share it and the reminiscence after-the-fact with your significant other or friends. If you are lucky, you will get plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" during the event, but the mark of true success is when your guests are still talking about it days and weeks later.

Serena, Food & Stories has all of the necessary ingredients for a fabulous event. This is both a cook book and a cook's book. Complete with easy to follow recipes, great stories, and photos that make your mouth water. I keep all of my cookbooks together in a cabinet, this one I keep on my counter-top. I grab it when I need a great recipe or when I simply want to read and daydream about my next dinner party.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynn and Keeley on August 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My family and I love Serena, Food & Stories and have given copies to each member of our family and special friends. It combines extremely delicious and easy to follow recipes with lively illustrations, beautiful photographs, and totally engaging stories; it is so much more than a cookbook. The Raspberry Frangipane Pie with Almond Whipped Cream is fantastic. Serena Bass' warm hearted spirit and love of cooking set this book apart. My daughter and I whole heartedly reccomend this special cook book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Latta on February 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Serena Bass has sprinkled clever and entertaining stories throughout her beautiful cookbook, making it as much fun to read as it is to cook from. Every recipe I have tried has been absoultely fantastic. I have shelves and shelves of cookbooks and I am not sure that any of them other than this one has one recipe after another that I would serve to the queen should she come for dinner! From the very simple to the more gourmet, each dish I have tried is truly delicious. Serena also offers many helpful and unique entertaining tips. This book is a must have for any cook and anyone who likes to throw a great party. It would also make a beautiful gift!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By New York Foodie on November 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
While not much of a cook myself, I couldn't help but get caught up in the fun of planning a party with Serena! You feel as if she's right in the kitchen with you, making a suggestion here or there, arranging flowers and candles, and welcoming your guests. The recipes are delicious, yet not in the least bit intimidating, as Ms. Bass quite literally takes you by the hand and guides you each step of the way. Even if you're ordering in, this book is a great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Alden on June 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's just something about this book. Maybe it's Serena herself. Her stories are absolutely delightful, especially the ones describing her family. I really like how this book is organized, by event and time of day. I also like how simple it is: there are some very good things here, but nothing arcane or precious. It's all very homey and accessible without being "dumbed down," you know what I mean? I've made the vanilla cupcakes, but I think I did something wrong and am going to try them again. I also made the carrot and date muffins, and in both cases made the cream icing: wow, is that good. I think the combination of the vanilla, lemon and rosewater is magical. I've also got the Katy's dates with ancho oil and the curried chicken balls on my agenda very soon. I have high hopes.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Frazier on June 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
While I have to admit first thing that my wife and I are friends of Serena's and mentioned in the acknowledgements, let me also say that we were used repeatedly to test, taste and attempt to prepare the dishes in the book as it was written. I have eaten nearly all and endeavored to cook a great number of the recipes and I can personally attest to their appeal. Serena's way with straightforward, high-quality ingredients and a restless imagination produces extraordinary food that can be prepared by us, mere mortals.

And just when I think I've heard all the stories Serena can muster she blithely unearths another nugget of her past, recent or otherwise, and surprises me with how many lives she's lived.

This is a great cookbook and an tantalizing look into one of the

most interesting and dynamic women I've met. A star in the making.. you heard it here.
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