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Gather and Entertain: Inspiration from Books in Your Library


Gather and Entertain: Inspiration from Books in Your Library

gather and entertain

Whether you are planning a slew of holiday parties, hosting an intimate evening for friends and family, or simply enjoying the coziest time of year, here are some recently published books available with your Livingston Library card, that will provide tips and inspiration for preparing and serving boards, platters and beverages, arranging the decor, setting the party table, in short, everything for hosting a smooth and enjoyable gathering (including pairing the right music with drinks).

Boards and Platters

boards platters plates

Boards, Platters, Plates : Recipes for Entertaining, Sharing, and Snacking by Maria Zizka

Whether it’s a gathering with a few friends for a casual dinner or hosting a crowd for the holidays, this book will help readers create the perfect platter for every occasion with recipes that can be incorporated into any meal.  Zizka gives readers a lesson on how to construct the most beautiful spreads; tips on how to select the best store-bought pairings, like crackers or fruits and veggies; and helpful information on each component that is created from scratch.

Boards : Stylish Spreads For Casual Gatherings by America’s Test Kitchen

Scott,  executive editor at America’s Test Kitchen, walks readers through the basics, advising them on how to choose a board type (charcuterie, crudités, DIY), use household items such as muffin tins and cake stands for displays, and “take things from simple to special” by adding flourishes such as smearing condiments with the back of a spoon. Most helpful is an informal set of board “rules” that emphasize the importance of having a unifying theme and a focal point, and balancing store-bought items with easy homemade dips.

Butter Boards : 50+ Inventive Spreads for Entertaining by Alejandra Diaz-Imlah

This cookbook expertly breaks down 50 butter board spreads. Each board features a number for each ingredient, so you can quickly find recipes and reconstruct these boards with ease. Just match the number on the board to the recipe in the book to arrange striking platters or put a new spin on your favorite recipes.

That Cheese Plate Wants to Party : Festive Boards, Spreads, and Recipes with the Cheese by Numbers Method by Marissa Mullen

Featuring forty new cheese boards for parties of all kinds, thoughtful drink pairings, color themes, floral arrangement tips, tablescape ideas, playlists, and cheesy party games, this is the ultimate party planning guide. 

Cooking and Entertaining

art of tablescaping

The Art of Tablescaping : Deck Out Your Table With the Queen of Theme by Bugsy Drake

 With the help of some unconventional centerpieces, a few artfully folded napkins, well-placed lighting, and a generous sprinkling of décor, tablescaping is the art of transforming a meal into an adventure that your guests will never forget. Bugsy’s gorgeous, over-the-top themes have captivated guests and earned her legions of devoted fans. Now she’s ready to share her passion and talent for creating unforgettable dining experiences, honed during nearly a decade working on the world’s most exclusive yachts and private islands. Featuring step-by-step instructions for building your own enchanting events, this book is packed full of inventive ideas and design hacks, on-the-job stories and lessons learned.

Christmas with Southern Living, 2023 : Inspired Ideas for Holiday Cooking and Decorating

 Ideas for entertaining, holiday decor and gifting. Includes recipes and ideas for table centerpieces.

Company: The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others by Amy Thielen

Company will have you rethinking the way you entertain, throwing dinner parties that are less formal, more frequent, and as fun for the cook as for the guests. Preaching leniency, not-guilty pleasures, and the art of making it in advance, Amy soothes the most common party anxieties one by one. Her reflections on writing menus, produce shopping, and how to time a meal are novel but timeless. Not afraid of meat (but obsessed with vegetables), these 125 loyal recipes are arranged in menu form—from intimate dinner parties to larger holiday feasts to parties that serve up to twenty.

The Dinner Party Project: A No-Stress Guide to Food with Friends by Natasha Feldman

A cooking show host and private chef shares the secrets to throwing fun, no-stress gatherings through recipes for every mood and cooking comfort level, menu suggestions, and tips and tricks for taking the pressure off of hosting.

For the Table : Easy, Adaptable, Crowd-Pleasing Recipes by Anna Stockwell

This book teaches you how to plan and prepare great-tasting and impressive-looking menus that are easy to pull off, as well as offers expert advice on toasts, prep-ahead strategies, and tips on handling guest lists and dietary restrictions.

Gatherings : Casual-Fancy Meals to Share

The cooks of America’s Test Kitchen share how they entertain at home, with 140 recipes from simple to show stopping and airtight planning strategies.

Mastering the Art of Entertaining by Joseph Marini

There is a vulnerability inherent in opening our home and inviting people in to see how we live–and that vulnerability, says home entertainer extraordinaire Marini, is something to embrace wholeheartedly. In this beautiful, accessible guide, Joseph shares his secrets for being a thoughtful and authentic host when entertaining at home, along with distinctive recipes, tasteful advice on etiquette appropriate for today’s lifestyles, and a multitude of ways to make your next gathering unforgettable. Entertaining, he says, is a learned skill that with a little bit of regular practice becomes second nature. Becoming a proficient host means that you are taking the time to nurture people–bringing them together in a space that is comfortable and welcoming while creating memories over food and drinks. 

Tables & Spreads : a Go-to Guide for Beautiful Snacks, Intimate Gatherings and Inviting Feasts by Shelly Westerhausen

This is a cooking and styling guide that shows you how to create beautiful, abundant spreads-for casual dinners or parties–with stunning photography and creative ideas for every occasion

Cocktails and Drinks

book of cocktail ratios

The Book of Cocktail Ratios : the Surprising Simplicity of Classic Cocktails by Michael Ruhlman

A back-to-basics cocktail book–and an affable tribute to the pleasures of the cocktail–is organized around five best-known, beloved, classic families of cocktails, providing a simple ratio for each from which myriad variations can be built.

A Booze & Vinyl Christmas : Merry Music-and-Drink Pairings to Celebrate the Season by Andre Darlington

Whether you’re planning your finest Ugly Christmas Sweater Party or spending a quiet evening by the stocking-lined fireside at home, make the season bright with this guide to 40 favorite holiday albums from the 1940s to the present. Each entry features liner notes on the album and accompanying boozy beverage recipes that complement the music or connect the drink to the artist. Select holiday food recipes throughout complete the experience.

Delish Ultimate Cocktails : Why Limit Happy to an Hour? by Joanna Saltz

Each of the 100+ easy and fun recipes dreamt up by the editors of Delish is an excuse to throw a party. These cocktail recipes will shake things up and elevate your entertaining game with best-ever versions of the classics plus inventive new ideas for Jell-O shots and boozy sweets like Banana Pudding Shots and Pina Colada Truffles. 

Liquid Dessert : Cocktail Confections From Around the World by Brian Paiement

Professional bartender and mixologist Paiement invites you to join him on a trip around the world to discover cocktails inspired by the best desserts on the planet. Traditional desserts, though delicious, can be heavy and overwhelming after a big meal. Or you may be wavering on whether or not to have another beverage or dessert-now it doesn’t have to be one or the other! From cocktails-inspired favorites like Bananas Foster or Cannoli, whether you’re a fan of rich, decadent chocolate or you have more of a citrusy-tart palette, the simple-to-follow recipes here have you covered, no matter your craving.

Mocktails : a Collection of No-Proof Cocktails

This collection of 75+ irresistible mocktails are carefully hand crafted to bring amazing flavor to every sip.  Whether you want to make the kids feel grown up, don’t drink alcohol, or are just not in the mood for booze, these mocktails offer something for everyone. Not only are they much more interesting to drink than soda, but they also offer the wide range of flavor profiles that makes the world of cocktails so dynamic.

Signature Cocktails by Amanda Schuster

A signature cocktail is a bespoke drink that expresses the nature of the time, person, or place for which it was created. In this book, the author curates a collection of the most celebrated cocktails – from well-known classics such as the Bellini, to the up-to-the-minute Twin Cities from New York’s ultra-hip Dead Rabbit bar.  Each unique drink in this collection is accompanied by the name of the creator, place and date of invention, alongside a specially commissioned image, easy-to-follow recipe, and a fascinating insight into its unique story.

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian


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