Ted Kennedy Watson’s Guide to Stylish Entertaining

Ted Kennedy Watson. Gibbs Smith, $37.50 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4236-5729-3

Stylist Watson (Style & Simplicity) delivers a charming look at “how to not let perfection hold you back from entertaining.” Simple steps for setting a table emphasize that flowers should be kept low and that, while place cards are nice, they’re not absolutely essential—but a home bar isn’t adequately stocked unless it has cocktail napkins and a bowl of peanuts. Most inspiring are the festive table setups, which include menus, recipes, and playlists: for the “all about the figs” table, guests get sauvignon blanc and chicken with meyer lemons, while a sunporch brunch features mimosas and arugula salad with a green checkered tablecloth, and a martini lunch involves “chocolate chip-laden banana bread” (plus a scented geranium topiary). “Ted’s Tips” for topics including pairing cheeses, sourcing a silverware collection, or finding flower options in a pinch are solid, and unexpected touches such as suggested gifts to give guests, tricks for styling a bathroom, and Watson’s answers to “The Proust Questionnaire” are a nice plus. The design is great, too: page spreads laid out in colorful collages combine superb photos of food, place settings, flower arrangements, and quotes. This will have readers ready to host in no time. (Aug.)
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