first off, there will be no talk of black wednesday. if you’re seeking precious air kisses, strawberries dipped in velvety chocolate, swooning and red hues, take your ass over to hallmark. today, i’m talking about entertaining. the kind of entertaining where you don’t end up hating all of your friends and regretting they ever set foot in your home. i’m talking about entertaining without all the anxiety. the idea here is a xanax-free evening. and i’ve found two books which help the cause.
i’ve seen it all. people who’ve vomited in my bathtub (you know who you are), spilled red wine all over my sheets, and let’s not forget the episode where i walked in on a friend rummaging through my medicine cabinet (i keep the meds by the bedside, people), and a recent divorcee (whose rat-bastard husband cheated on her for an anorexic nineteen-year-old) who drank vodka straight from the bottle (bless her heart. and honestly, wouldn’t you?!). i’ve had successes and disasters, stains and quiet, candles burning down the wick and that time when i almost burned my apartment down (hail sheetrock walls).
as i’m getting older and my tolerance for bullshit is minimal, at best, and i have a little kitty to consider, i don’t entertain as much as i used to (the bi-monthly drink-to-you-see-black parties are history) and now it’s becoming all about quality rather than quantity. who cares that you’ve invited 200 people and 2 show up? you can rock the party nonetheless and in style. and i’ve gotten serious about event-planning. i’ve hosted tea & scone clothing swaps, dinner parties for four, lazy lunches for two.
as i’m type a like you couldn’t understand, i spend weeks planning a party. i consider the invite list (too many writers? the “dumper” aka the girl who feels the need to dump her problems all over your poor, unsuspecting lap, the guy who has likely slept with two or more of your friends, and my favorite, the girl who lamented that she couldnâ€™t invite her boyfriend to an all-girl soiree. CODEPENDENCE IS ON AISLE 2, MISSY!). i consider the food situation (vegans, gluten-free, friends who loathe the sight of food altogether), the music, the decor, the time, the invitations, etc.
so when a dear friend sent over Amy Sedaris’s I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, i was in love. sedaris puts the kitsch back in the kitchen. from how to handle the pill-popping guest to dealing with the long-term elderly entertaining to making dinner for one (plus the imaginary boyfriend, naturally) to snapping up a quick feast for an impromptu gathering, her tips are wry, lovingly self-deprecating and self-loving all at once, witty and fun, and her recipes fairly easy to follow. although i usually go in for the glam, glossy spreads, sedaris’s down-home photos (killer, spicy wings and a sensational blueberry pie earn raves) give more of a realistic flavor to party-giving. because we’re all not living out of a martha stewart catalog or have the budget.
About the Book: Fran Warde’s informal approach to cooking and her easy-to-follow recipes make this a must-have cookbook for everyone who loves to share good food with friends and family. Her book is arranged by theme, each with its own distinctive style and delicious menu to match, including Dinner in Advance, Everyday Entertaining, Effortless Entertaining, Parties and Celebrations, Drinks and Fingerfood, and Party Buffet. With something to please for every budget, season, and occasion, and beautifully photographed by Debi Treloar, this is the perfect gift for anyone who loves to entertain.
i have a craving for a spring fling. and know that i will be borrowing handsomely from both books. a little kitsch, a little high style, a little muffin, a little wine.