Sixteen fabulous parties
are presented in this book.
David Rosengarten shares menus, key ingredients, recipes, beverage suggestions, even room and table decoration ideas in this thorough party planning guide for a wide array of get-togethers.
These are real people parties with casual themes, not pretentious "fetes" where impressions trump a good time.
Rosengarten seems to be recounting memories of throwing each party rather than rattling off time-worn Emily Post vetted instructions.
The author is master of a relaxed, engaging, conversational style. In the "Mexican Street Party" chapter, he states, "If the party starts at dusk, luminaria could mark the path to the entrance. Another option for overachievers is to post a donkey from Central Casting out front." I laugh out loud at the over-the-top suggestion- and wonder how many readers will hire the donkey.
David Rosengarten's enthusiasm for his work is apparent. He emphasizes and promotes the idea that parties should be joyful occasions for both host and guest. In the "It's Tapas Time," chapter he states "Though it's impossible to generalize about the 'typical' Spanish tapas bar, there are certain shared characteristics. At the top of that list would be informality… This quality is easily translated at your party: include nothing stiff, nothing formal, nothing elegant. This might be good advice when considering your guest list, as well." I chuckle at this very practical recommendation.
As much as I enjoy the content, I did not find the book's aesthetics and chapter organization quite as pleasing. The font varies so much in size and shading that it becomes distracting. I found myself examining the headings trying to come up with the logic or reason for the odd assortment of fonts and shades. The Recipe section of each chapter is introduced with a page where the word "Recipes" spans the entire width page and even extends beyond the margin and off the page, while notes in the recipes are presented in such tiny print they are difficult to read. The recipe titles are shaded so that nouns appear in dark letters and adjectives appear in lighter letters. Further, the recipes are often set out in long paragraphs rather than succinct instructions. Following the recipes are additional sections for the same chapter…again the content is fantastic, but it is surprising to find more information following the RECIPES. The photo placement remains a mystery to this reader.
Despite my distraction with the stylistic aspects, I found David Rosengarten's most recent work a truly entertaining book about entertaining. With a glass of wine in one hand and David Rosengarten Entertains in the other, a party hosted by the author is already underway. And party planning for a larger crowd is sure to follow.
Review by: Jane Boaz