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InStyle Parties: The Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining All Year Round Hardcover – October 31, 2017
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Four types of parties are modeled and again while I wouldn't follow these models exactly the basics of what you need to consider and the timing of preparations are important to repeat particularly if you have not thrown parties other than spur of the moment ones. Food and wine, seating, setting, number of guests, those are comment enough aspects of parties that most of you should know them. I was very pleased to see two other aspects of parties addressed that I routinely think about and incorporate into my parties -- "The Activity" and "The Take-Home". Sometimes I have both an activity that we can enjoy at the party as well as something for my guests to take with them but this guide suggests only one.
The only disappointments in the book was a focus on fancy supplies and foods versus the types of food that most Americans can afford and have easy access to. Honestly anyone can throw a party (which the book claims in the introduction) yet the focus is on more expensive models. The section disappointment was two typos where an activity is clearly a take-home ("Fresh Summer Party") and a take-home is really an activity ("Midsummer Mediterranean Fete"). That's a mix-up that an editor really should have caught.
Each celebration has its own customized menu of recipes, including a signature cocktail, tabletop ideas, suggestions for party favors, group activities, even a timeline to tell you exactly what to do, and when. I would have loved to have had such an excellent resource when I was first starting out. Had I, I doubt that I would be suffering from party prep anxiety today!
I have never had a cookbook quite like this one; it is certainly unique. But, to call it a cookbook is selling it short. This is your own personal party planner. The recipes are easy and doable, there are beautiful, helpful, mouthwatering photos, and copious information on party favors that complement your theme, and that guests can take home with them as a remembrance of the fabulous time they had at your gathering. Additionally, it is also a valuable resource, guiding you, step-by-step, through the party planning process, from invitations, to stocking the bar, to planning your menu, advising as to needed supplies, and setting a table. This book has it all.
There are so many good ideas here that I can't do it justice in this brief review, you're just going to have to pick up a copy for yourself. And if you know anyone who struggles with parties, or is just starting out and doesn't exactly know what to do, this book is their answer. It is a fairy godmother in book form, a “must have” for the holidays, and welcome addition to any cookbook library, large or small. The InStyle people know what they're doing, and it shines through here.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.