cover image Martha Stewart's Menus for Entertaining

Martha Stewart's Menus for Entertaining

Martha Stewart, Author, Dana Gallagher, Photographer Clarkson N Potter Publishers $30 (224p) ISBN 978-0-517-59099-7

Just when you thought the lavish style of '80s-era entertaining was gone forever, Stewart (Martha Stewart's New Old House) releases another book destined to make party-givers want to blow up balloons and repolish their candelabras. Though she claims in her introduction that she now prefers simpler foods and fixings, Stewart's mashed potatoes still call for a stick of butter, a quarter cup of heavy cream and a cup of softened cream cheese. ``Light'' this isn't, but preparation and menus are indeed more spare than in the author's earlier efforts. In 20 chapters, she gives step-by-step instructions for assembling a theme party-whether a spicy Thai lunch or a fried green tomatoes brunch. Gone are the gilded pumpkins of yore; instead, Stewart's Halloween party calls for pumpkins stuffed with a savory mix of vegetables and chicken, topped with puff pastry and served with a cognac cream sauce on the side. Yet some of the rusticity espoused in the recipes verges on artificial: a country ham is to be baked atop a bed of grass. For the millions of urbanites who love her style, but cannot find an organic tussock, Stewart fails to suggest a substitute-say, a couple of bunches of parsley. But most of her fans will find this book inspiring and unintimidating. Author tour. (Nov.)