Easy Entertaining for Beginners: You Can Throw a Fabulous Party, from Holiday Fiesta to a Romantic Evening for Two
Maple Heights Press (2008)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (4/08)
What attracted me to this book was the author’s comments “you don’t have to be a gourmet chef…or a nervous wreck…to throw a great dinner party.” I’m certainly not a beginner at entertaining; however, I’m always looking for ways to host a party more easily and smoothly than the time before. Patricia Mendez didn’t disappoint me.
Mendez’s experience in catering and coordinating events is a boon to aspiring home chefs as she sets out the steps to creating a fabulous party, whether it’s a dinner for two or eight, or a tea or cocktail party. She also includes Thanksgiving, 4th of July, and a Mother’s Day brunch as well as other occasions.
Each chapter includes an introduction and talk about the party, menu, timeline, optional shortcuts, party etiquette, mistakes to avoid, and tips to ensure success. In the menu section Mendez includes the food, drinks, and music suggestions. At first glance I realized she didn’t miss a thing. Mendez even included beautifully colored pictures of some of the dishes. The dishes look wonderful and time-consuming, however, with the information Mendez provides, creating the same look is a breeze.
I had the occasion to entertain a group of female friends so chose to follow “Girlfriends’ Tea.” The menu included Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts on Mini-Croissants, English Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches, Scones, Clotted Cream, Brownie Drop Cookies, and purchased lemon curd and strawberry jam. All the recipes were easy to follow and the ingredients are available at any grocery store. I was reluctant to try the scones because of previous failures but to give justice to the book, and this review, I decided to try it one more time. I was amazed at the results. This recipe is a keeper! The step-by-step checklist was well-organized and I followed it to a T. My guests were very impressed and best of all, I wasn’t stressed out. I was able to pull off the event without a hitch and still put in a full day at work.
Patricia Mendez’s book “Easy Entertaining for Beginners” is a must-have gift for any person setting off on their own or for those embarking on new territory. The simplicity and conciseness makes this book a valuable reference and a guide to pull off an event without stress and worry. The hosts will shine to their guests.