Arty Parties: An Entertaining Cookbook

Julia Sherman. Abrams, $40 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4785-4
“At the most memorable dinner I have ever hosted the food was of no consequence at all,” writes chef Sherman (Salad for President) in this collection of quirky recipes and advice for entertaining like an artist. That sentiment rings throughout, with the focus being more on atmosphere than actual flavors. In her “Choose Your Own Adventure” section, she encourages guests to “craft the final result” of an assortment of DIY-style meals, including tacos served with smashed winter squash, roast leg of lamb, and a medley of vegetables. To “address the limitations of the spatially restricted host,” Sherman offers finger foods, such as avocado-lemongrass panna cotta and turmeric-poppy kettle corn. She utilizes seasonal produce as much as possible, sautéeing squash blossoms with eggs in the summer and poaching quince in a savory pink peppercorn verjus syrup come fall. Many of her dishes, though, seem to be designed more for photographs than feeding others (such as one “recipe” that’s just an avocado speckled with furikake seasoning). More delectable are the stories Sherman sprinkles in of her artist friends—such as witnessing Jordan Casteel use frosting to create a portrait of her doorman on a yellow cake—as well as the pretty photos of their artfully messy homes. While the aesthetic here is aspirational, the recipes are less so. Agent: Kitty Cowles, Cowles Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/30/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
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