cover image Real Life Entertaining: Easy Recipes and Unconventional Wisdom

Real Life Entertaining: Easy Recipes and Unconventional Wisdom

Jennifer Rubell, . . Morrow, $27.50 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-06-077847-7

Entertainment columnist for the Miami Herald 's Home & Design magazine and a boutique hotel owner, Rubell presents her unfussy approach to entertaining in this fun, energetic book. She arranges the recipes into seven sections, each focusing on a different type of gathering (e.g., "Dinner for a Crowd"; "Lunch Buffets"). At the start of each chapter, Rubell discusses how many people to invite, how to set the mood and what drinks to serve. As she promises, the recipes are easy, even for inexperienced cooks, yet are tasteful and delicious, often relying on staples like vinegars and mustard. Fresh herbs also find their way into most recipes, such as Grilled Shrimp with Garlic and Citrus, and Grilled Skirt Steak with Orange-Mint Chimichurri. "Party Tricks" are useful, suggesting, for instance, that the host bring the toaster into the dining room during brunch, so everyone can toast their own bagel without disrupting the conversation. "Real Life Wisdom" sidebars remind hosts to keep stress levels low when entertaining by doing whatever feels right to them, regardless of traditional rules. The book's only weak link is its dessert chapter, with just a handful of recipes, all of them sauces for ice cream. Still, this is a strong entry in the crowded entertaining field. (May)