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Forking Fantastic!: Put the Party Back in Dinner Party Paperback – October 6, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dinner hosts sick of Martha Stewarts and Barefoot Contessas will have a field day with O'Neill and Reynolds's irreverent, compulsively readable entertaining guide. Veteran hostesses of an underground New York supper club, the two chefs share dinner party secrets emphasizing good times with a minimum of stress, and an informal, refreshingly profane tone that belies the genre's staid, prescriptive standard. In short, hosts are encouraged to make the party theirs, which means cooking what's comfortable, rather than catering to the diets of guests; not getting wound up over wine; and even playing the soundtrack you like, rather than worry about ambiance. Practical, empowering tips include hiring a dishwasher (cheaper than you think, especially if guests chip in) and skipping the intensive house-cleaning. Four seasonal menus, complete with timelines and wine tips, give hosts of all experience levels a number of entry points and techniques, including a Baby Step Dinner Party and a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cassoulet, in which cooks are discouraged from scouring the earth for a particular sausage or bean. The affable, freewheeling spirit can backfire, however, as the authors frequently pause mid-recipe to offer an aside, anecdote or even a different recipe altogether. This volume will fit in nicely next to Amy Sedaris's I Like You, but even the Contessa would be impressed with these cookbook newcomers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

The women behind a Queens supper club offer a frank and fearless guide to throwing a panic-free dinner party, whether it's the Baby-Step Menu, the Fall Means Ham menu or the Amazing Cassoulet menu.
--New York Times Book Review

A hilarious compilation of plate-licking recipes, foolproof menus, and playful anecdotes that will help even the most inexperienced cook entertain a group. --Saveur
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Original edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592405053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592405053
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,240,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Choosing the number of stars for this book is not easy; it's 5 for what it is (which is not much), but 1 for what it isn't. If you are very young, early 20's, say, probably college educated, and like the idea of cooking for your friends but have little money and fewer resources, then this MIGHT be a good book for you. I say "might" for several reasons. This book was written by two women who live in the Astoria section of Queens, where there is a thriving Greek community, and therefore easy access to Greek ingredients, farmers' markets, etc., and they aren't far from Manhattan where you can get anything (and at most any hour). If you are in an area where your resource is the local supermarket, you may have a hard time finding some of the ingredients. This book only has 50 recipes. Subtract the ones that have those hard-to-find ingredients, and you've got even fewer for that. Now, as of this writing, there are several copies for a penny plus shipping here on Amazon, so it may be worth it to shell out the $4 for that. There is also an inherent problem with the approach they take. Which is to avoid measuring ingredients. The sort of person who buys this book is likely not to be a very experienced cook (those of us who are have some classic recipes we tend to use for entertaining, or enjoy stretching our repertoire with things that would be far too complicated to be included in this book) and therefore needs to use measurements, but the person who is comfortable not using measurements has a cook's mentality, and likely is going to have done a good bit of "big" cooking before buying this book-- which is aimed at the more novice type. It just doesn't work.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
If you've never considered cooking for another person never mind a group, this book will at least get you fantasizing about the possibility. Even if you rarely cook for yourself, you'll find yourself thinking Hmmm, I could make that... And seasoned cooks? I'm one of those ~ boasting dozens of years of creative cookery ~ yet there were multiple "who knew?" moments for me. These women know what they're talking about and better yet, know how to say it with clarity. And when's the last time you laughed out loud reading a cookbook?

Despite the statement that their vision of vegetarianism includes a bacon exception, the authors' vegetable dishes are original and tantalizing ~ and don't actually contain bacon although the recipe for candying it might make you want to.
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After watching Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel, I was interested to read this book by Tamara Reynolds and Zora O'Neill. These women love to cook, love to eat and share food with others. The tone of the book is very encouraging (we did it and we will show you how you can do it too). The menus are interesting and not only include the recipes but a game plan for getting the food ready to serve.
They make the concept of dinner parties fun and about the people you invite to your table and the food that you serve not whether you have matching dishes and chairs. The conversation and food is more important than place cards and table decorations. The subtitle says it all: Put the Party Back in Dinner Party!
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Ok, I've only had this book for 24 hours, so the recipes are not battle-tested, with the exception of a yummy Spanish Tortilla I made with leftovers last night (think frittata, not mexican tortilla). Having said that, I love the spirit of the book. It's aimed at someone who basically never throws a dinner party because of the stress involved. The recipes, shopping tips, etc all emphasize maximum deliciousness with least effort - for instance, it recommends never peeling a vegetable. It correctly identifies the surprising tastiness of frozen peas. I could go on.

The pleasure the authors take in a wine-infused, too-many-people-in-a-small-apartment kind of a dinner party is infectious. All in all, if the use of the f-word bothers you, or you want your dinner to look great in photographs, look elsewhere. If you've been meaning to get 8 people over for dinner more often, and want some help, this is just the ticket.
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I just got this cookbook last week and am already in love with it -- I love the laid-back, no measurements approach (which is really how you're supposed to cook!), and the no-fuss approach to dining. I've already flagged a bunch of recipes to make for upcoming dinner parties.
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What a fun cookbook....these ladies know how to entertain and inform the reader as well as those fortunate enough to attend their dinner parties. I look forward to trying some of the recipes but meanwhile I read it for sheer delight.
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First, if you are offended by some three and four letter words (used somewhat often), believe having a social cocktail (or 3) before / after dinner (and wine with) is a bad thing, believe it would be faux pas to have anything but a perfect table setting and / or using anything except a table to eat off of (just wait till you get the idea of using saw horses and taking a door off its hinges) than this book is NOT for you. For the rest of us hard working and often broke people of earth who wish to still be able to entertain and enjoy life, this is the book for you! Anyone who thinks the meals are not great or tasteless must have missed the part when the authors talked about you being the cook and encouraging one to adjust (or even flat out change) the recipes to ones liking. This is anything but some dry, stiff, cook book. Lots of tips, several great meal ideas and just about the only book one would need when it comes to setting up a dinner party or supper club.
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