16 November 2012

Celebrate



I didn’t want to do it.  Yes I love “entertaining” books but I didn’t think I could bear to buy the Pippa Middleton book.  Of course, I couldn’t NOT buy it, I mean really, Pippa Middleton.  Her Mum and Dad made a fortune selling party goods – paper napkins and balloons – a fortune!!  He sister married well.  She has an extraordinary ass (you can judge yourself, but commentators were quite struck by it during the royal wedding).  

Not just a pretty ass face, Pippa has had a rather prosperous career as a party planner/organizer for high-end corporate and luxury brand events, i.e. she packed the boxes of napkins they ordered, but still…



So it would only seen fair that she should write of book on how to celebrate:  Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends.

Do I sound a bit snarky?  Well yes I do and so does Pippa.  Just read the introduction:

“It’s a bit startling to achieve global recognition (if that’s the right word) before the age of thirty, on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom.”

Indeed!

Clearly, Middleton understands that most people who grab up this book are doing so because they remember her from her sister’s wedding.  But she does know something about the party business, so let’s jump right in.

First and foremost, there are almost as many photos as there are words in the book.  Food, flowers, decorations, drinks, parties, and dishes are all well documented.   One reviewer remarked that all the pictures were “nauseatingly middle class.” 

There is Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter, but also Boxing Day and a great Burns Night.  Middleton states in her introduction, “While some of the events, crafts and dishes may be unfamiliar to an American audience, I am thrilled to share my favorite British traditions and hope you’ll find them as lovely as I do.”

And while Burns Night is typically Scottish, the British still consider all the colonies “British”, even I think, the old US of A, just the northeast, but still…  And I must say, Pippa has an astonishing array of usages for haggis.  Who knew?


Celebrate is a good collection of food and fun for anyone. There are lovely macaroons (which Pippa tells us are difficult to make, so buy them) to Rice Crispy treats that you can make yourself.  There are decked halls, steaming fish pie, and instructions for a tug-of-war.  Celebrate is jam-packed and action filled.  And while there are indeed Rice Crispy Treats, there is also a recipe for Millionaire’s Shortbread.

Millionaire’s Shortbread

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a 9 X 13 oblong jelly roll pan.

For the shortbread base, place 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2-cup superfine sugar and 2 sticks of unsalted butter in a food processor and blend together to form a smooth dough.  Press the mixture into the base of the pan and prick with a fork.  Chill for 15 minutes before baking in the over for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and firm.  Set aside to cool.

To make the topping, place 13/4 sticks of unsalted butter, I cup superfine sugar, 3 tablespoons golden syrup or honey and a 14-ounce can of condensed milk in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the butter melts.  Turn the heat up to medium, bring to a boil then cook the mixture gently for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until thick and golden brown.  Pour evenly over the cold shortbread and leave to cool.  Melt 7 ounces of chopped dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.  Pour the chocolate over the cooled toffee and place in the fridge to set.  Remove from the pan and carefully cut into squares.



I admit I was skeptical.  The book has been thoroughly panned in England with the most damning criticism being that the book is just to simple.  Well, it was never touted as an elaborate guide to party planning, it was written as a way to make celebrating with family and friends easy.  Seriously, the family fortune is based on selling matching paper cups and streamers, what did they think she was going to write about?  But you know the British press, they are much more snaky than I. I can tell you, if Pippa asks me to a party, I would go, as simply middle class as it might be… and don't lie, so would you!

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what it is about a picture of food that would make it "nauseatingly middle class." I'm inclined to give Pippa the benefit of the doubt. I probably wouldn't buy this, but if my library acquires it, I'll definitely read it.

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