If you long to entertain, but have no idea what to do or where to begin, have I got a book for you! InStyle Parties, the Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining All Year Round is the Bible of entertaining. It provides you with 15 different celebrations from which to choose, including dinner parties, holiday parties (although, sadly, Christmas is lacking here), game day gatherings, a darling woodland baby shower, as well as summertime soirées including a fresh summer supper, and beach house lunch. I particularly loved the Latin Fusion Feast. When was the last time you attended one of those?!
Each celebration has its own customized menu of recipes, including a signature cocktail, tabletop ideas, suggestions for party favors, group activities, even a timeline to tell you exactly what to do, and when. I would have loved to have had such an excellent resource when I was first starting out. Had I, I doubt that I would be suffering from party prep anxiety today!
I have never had a cookbook quite like this one; it is certainly unique. But, to call it a cookbook is selling it short. This is your own personal party planner. The recipes are easy and doable, there are beautiful, helpful, mouthwatering photos, and copious information on party favors that complement your theme, and that guests can take home with them as a remembrance of the fabulous time they had at your gathering. Additionally, it is also a valuable resource, guiding you, step-by-step, through the party planning process, from invitations, to stocking the bar, to planning your menu, advising as to needed supplies, and setting a table. This book has it all.
There are so many good ideas here that I can't do it justice in this brief review, you're just going to have to pick up a copy for yourself. And if you know anyone who struggles with parties, or is just starting out and doesn't exactly know what to do, this book is their answer. It is a fairy godmother in book form, a “must have” for the holidays, and welcome addition to any cookbook library, large or small. The InStyle people know what they're doing, and it shines through here.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.