Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review: Easy Entertaining for Beginners

Summary: Whether you're an old hand or you've never hosted a dinner party in your life, you can wow your friends and have a terrific time putting together a superb evening. Hostess extraordinaire Patricia Mendez guides you every step of the way, so you can let go of worry and stress.

All your questions, from what to serve to what to do, are clearly answered. You get everything you need for a talk-of-the-town party, included:

- 13 Complete Menus with delicious recipes and easy instructions
- Full Color Photographs
- Ideas for music, activities, drinks, along with themes for popular occasions
- Practical Advice and useful party etiquette
- 13 Checklists to ease you step-by-step through every phase of planning, preparation, and presentation
- Confidence so you and your guests enjoy your at-home entertaining to the fullest!

Even if your party's on Saturday night and it's already Wednesday, you can pull it off with ease and grace -- once you know Patricia's secrets. -- book cover

I love cookbooks! So when the opportunity came my way to take a look at EASY ENTERTAINING FOR BEGINNERS by Patricia Mendez, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I read cookbooks all the time for fun (not necessarily so I can cook more!) I love reading the recipes and looking at pictures of the finished products. This book definitely met (and even exceeded) my expectations -- this cookbook was wonderful!

I kind of like to cook (when I don't have to), but when it comes to having people over and actually entertaining, I get extremely nervous. I love planning the "party" and the menu, but the implementation of my ideas is what gets me worked up. This book is perfect for me. There are 12 chapters with 13 party ideas that include everything from children's birthday parties, to a romantic dinner for two, to a Thanksgiving meal. I think this book just about covers any entertaining situation.

I love how this book is organized. It actually makes entertaining look easy! Each chapter begins with terrific hostess advice followed by a menu (including drinks and music suggestions.) Then, it lists all of the recipes with detailed and easy-to-follow directions. Finally (and this might just be my favorite part,) there is a step-by-step checklist. This checklist gives the hostess a detailed break down of what needs to be done to prepare for the party weeks before, days before, minutes before, and even during the party. I'm pretty sure that even the most inexperienced or nervous hostess could throw a successful party with this book.

This book is not only wonderful for beginner hostesses, but I also think that even the most comfortable hostesses would enjoy EASY ENTERTAINING FOR BEGINNERS. Most of the recipes are quick and easy, and what hostess doesn't want to make things a little easier on herself! Plus, I think everyone will find the ideas for the parties very creative no matter how many successful parties they've thrown. I've just noticed that I keep using the word hostess -- this book is actually great for men too. Ms. Mendez included a few chapters that pertain especially to them including a Guys' Night Out section.

I thought I would mention the chapter that I liked the most (or even the recipes that I thought were the most yummy), but I couldn't just mention a few. I loved a lot of the appetizer-type recipes because I tend to make those a lot, but the beverage ones were terrific too. Maybe it's because we're closing in on the holidays, but I thought the Thanksgiving recipes looked delicious (and easy) and the Christmas Season Social ones were great too. While there weren't pictures in each chapter, the middle of the book does contain colored pictures of all the recipes.

Ms. Mendez has a wonderful website for the book. There are party ideas as well as some quick and easy recipes. In addition, you can sign up for a free Entertaining 101 e-newsletter and get a copy of Party Etiquette 101. Ms. Mendez also has a blog where she provides useful entertaining tips.

This book would make a great gift for anyone, but I think it would be especially perfect for brides-to-be or anyone who is starting out on their own. This is a book that you should definitely keep in mind for gift-giving this holiday season. You might even want to get a copy for yourself too!


Anonymous said...

I love a good cookbook, too. I love it when the recipes are simple but the finished product doesn't seem that way. Thanks for the review.

Jill said...

Thanks for putting this one on my radar...I have a cookbook addiction!

Shelley said...

I am like you--I love to plan parties but it makes me nervous when it is actually going on. Maybe a book like this would help.

Ti said...

I love to entertain but being the host usually means that I don't get to really enjoy the party since I am pre-occupied with refilling platters, making sure drinks are filled, etc.

I need to learn how to creat "no fuss" parties that look impressive so I can basically set it and forget it. Would you say this book does that?

Julie P. said...


Basically that's what this cookbook does, although there are some instructions for what the hostess needs to do during the party! Everything is pretty easy though!

Patricia said...

Thanks so much for your time and review of my book. I tell the students in my cooking class to concentrate on three things when they are learning to entertain; The food, the table and the tone that they set as host. All of the other bells and whistles of entertaining can be added as beginners gain a bit of confidence.

Do a few things and do those well and you can pull off enjoyable casual entertaining.
Happy Entertaining!
Patricia Mendez

Michele said...

This sounds like a good gift for my sister. I am on a quest to get her out and about and having an easy way to entertain is a great addition to that. Thanks for the review.