Now we just love "entertaining" books ; in fact, we would probably rather read entertaining books than actually entertain, but if need be, we are good to go for most any occasion. No matter how much one entertain, however, there is that moment when you think, "What am I going to do?" This is the perfect book to pull off the shelf. It is familiar enough to ease you into that party planning mode with recipes for spicy nuts, deviled eggs, angels on horseback, and a fine old-fashioned.
On the other hand, there is the element of surprise, that item one would never think of as entertaining fare that will leave your guests blown away, like my fave, oxtail. There are also sautéed carrots and peaches, crunchy shallots, and ginger cheesecake for an unforgettable dinner party.
Here is a piece of advice we can get behind: "Two or three bacon appetizers are not overkill."
1/2 pound of your favorite sliced bacon
Turbinado sugar or light brown sugar
Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Halve the bacon slices crosswise and arrange on parchment lined baking sheets so that the pieces don't touch. Sprinkle the sugar liberally on top to cover the bacon; season with black pepper and cayenne to taste. Bake, rotating once, until the sugar is caramelized, about 20 minutes.
There were a couple of reviews that implied this book was a bit old fashioned or that it was geared to wealthy housewives, like only rich people cared about such things as etiquette and entertaining. Yes, for years we have been told, politely that one should chew with ones mouth closed and still, go to any fine dining establishment and you are likely to find a gentleman who wants you to remember him for his $10,000 Rolex, but all you will remember is seeing the food in his mouth! Truth be told, one does not need a Victorian townhouse in Charleston, grandmama's collection of Francis 1 silverware, nor a Viking stove to host an elegant dinner party. Even the girls down at the trailer park can tell you which side of the plate the fork goes on!
Everyone can benefit from a little guidance on the domestic sciences. The world is a better place with manners and a good candied bacon. The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits is a fine place to get your party started.