cover image CELEBRATIONS 101


Rick Rodgers, . . Broadway, $29.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-1464-2

The most challenging aspect of entertaining is often the timing: will various elements of dinner for 12 be hot all at once? Is it all right to make and freeze some dishes ahead of time? And how long does garlic butter keep, anyway? Fans of Rodgers's 101 series know what to do: follow the timetables after each menu, and time-management will be a, well, piece of cake (probably Angel Food with Lemon Mousse Frosting). Rodgers's series (it includes Thanksgiving 101 , Christmas 101 and Barbecues 101 ) boasts a unique layout with a soothing rhythm. This addition has four season-centric sections with several menus in each, ranging from Mardi Gras to Passover, Father's Day to Christmas. A shopping list, recipes, tips and an agenda provide strategies for each soiree, and Rodgers adds personal commentary and historical insight: "A Mardi Gras Celebration" notes the "holy quintet" of seasonings used in Cajun and Creole recipes, and "Halloween Party"-ers may want to remember guests will be in costume, "so don't make food that is too difficult to eat or serve." Clever tidbits ("all food looks good on white ceramic") and succulent close-up photos are enticing, and a list of essential kitchen tools will have readers on the fast track to achieving Rodgers's goal: a memorable celebration and a calm chef. Agent, Susan Ginsburg. (Oct. 12)