Cover image for B. Smith : rituals & celebrations
B. Smith : rituals & celebrations
Smith, B. (Barbara), 1949-
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 241 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX739 .S485 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
TX739 .S485 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Television lifestyle expert B. Smith shares her passion and ideas for entertaining, cooking, and crafts in this fabulous twelve-month celebration of holidays and rituals. As a restaurateur, TV host, columnist, and former model, B. Smith lets us in on the tricks of entertaining with flair and personal style. The first in a series,Rituals & Celebrationsis organized by calendar month, each including two or three celebrations and containing a history of the ritual, full-course recipes, party ideas, and step-by-step craft  instructions. In addition to such basic celebrations as a wine tasting at home,a Labor Day picnic on the beach, and a New Year's Eve pajama party for kids,Rituals & Celebrationsalso incorporates such African American traditions as a Juneteenth celebration and a bid whist card party. The book also includes some wonderful variations on traditional holidays, such as a hot pink Valentine's Day, a Thanksgiving featuring Jerked Roast Turkey, and Christmas Eve spent dipping into fondue. Shrimp Dumplings with Ginger Soy Sauce, Candied Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Stuffing, and Triple Chocolate Torte are just a few of the  other mouthwatering recipes included. Craft ideas    include putting together the perfect houseguest thank-you basket and creating beautiful personalized hand-painted glassware. B. Smith brings these celebrations into your home and helps you make them your own. Filled with beautiful full-color photographs,B. Smith: Rituals & Celebrationscompletes any home and makes a great gift all year long. B. Smith gives us twelve months of menus, recipes, crafts, and party ideas that help us celebrate with style

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Smith, television arbiter of taste and style, knows how to plan a party. She delights in the regular recurrence of holidays because they offer so many opportunities to create new ways to celebrate. Smith's latest book finds at least two parties in every month, arbitrarily assigning Mardi Gras to February to pair with Valentine's Day. Smith's menus are easily reproducible for the moderately experienced cook, many of them sophisticated updatings of southern celebrations of her youth. A Juneteenth party menu to commemorate emancipation features barbecued chicken and ribs balanced with a black-eyed pea salad and baked sweet potatoes. Other dishes sure to attract party givers include a gently spiced pumpkin apple soup and an ultrarich coconut bread pudding with bourbon sauce. A must for communities carrying B. Smith's television series and sure to prove popular elsewhere. --Mark Knoblauch

Publisher's Weekly Review

"You don't need vast resources to be creative," Smith believes. "You just need to be resourceful." True enough, but most admirers of this restaurateur and television personality will have to enlist a few helpers in order to emulate her dynamic style: Smith is passionate about entertaining. She insists that hostesses must be well-organized, for there's a lot of work involved in her seasonal meals, party plans and craft projects. More than 100 chic and highly seasoned recipes are presented in the context of monthly, celebratory menusÄfrom Heart-Shaped Swordfish Papillotes with Mango Salsa for a Valentine's Day Dinner for Two to Orzo Paella at a Labor Day Weekend Dinner Party. Classics are given clever twists: Warm Apple Spring Rolls with Rum Cider Syrup can be served for Chinese New Year and Jerked Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving. Many African-American traditions are incorporated into the food and party themes as wellÄSmith recommends serving Black-eyed Pea Salad for Juneteenth. Craft projects such as painting glassware sound like fun, and her decorations can be as lighthearted as setting real goldfish swimming in small bowls at each place setting. Smith describes herself as having "creative vision and playful style," and she exhibits both in this first of a planned four-book series. 16-city author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this book, Smith, former model and now owner of three restaurants (in New York City, Sag Harbor, NY, and Washington, DC), offers "menus and ideas for festive events throughout the year, from `A New Year's Day Buffet' to `A Christmas Eve Fondue.'" (LJ 9/15/99) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



I get a huge amount of satisfaction out of creating lasting memories. That's one reason I've made celebrations such a major part of my life. When you really throw yourself into preparing something that you're sharing with other people, something that comes from your heart--whether it's your own version of a Chinese New Year dinner or a keepsake Valentine's collage--you create a memory that lasts forever. And, of course, every time you celebrate one of the traditional holidays, you become part of a whole chain of memories woven by the generations that came before you and those that are following after. The other reason that celebrations are so important to me is simple: I love to have fun. Celebrating something, anything, gives me an excuse. It's more than the fun of everyone having a good time; it's the fun of feeling inspired to try something new, and going with it: an unexpected color, a surprising twist on an old recipe, or a whole new reason to celebrate whatever wakes you up and makes you feel! As you leaf through each month of celebrations I've described in this book, you'll find new and unusual rituals for ancient celebrations, along with a year's worth of new excuses to create such memorable occasions as a Labor Day dinner party on the beach, a Juneteenth feast, a bid whist party, or an at-home wine-tasting--there's no limit to the possibilities. One friend of mine had a Bark Mitzvah for her two dogs. And why not? This book combines both my passions: carrying on traditions that keep our pasts alive and creating new ones that celebrate who we are now. It's not so much about Christmases and birthdays as it is about the birth of ideas, ideas for celebrations and rituals whose memories can live with you and take you through the down times. I think that we all as human beings want to be touched by experiences. You can be having one of the worst days of your life, and suddenly an unforgettable fragrance, even a taste or a color, can take you back to a special event and the people with whom you shared it. I think that part of the reason we all love the traditional celebrations is because they give us the chance to indulge in rituals that still taste of the excitement we felt in our childhood, like when we decorated the Christmas tree or smelled fall in the air on Thanksgiving. Any ritual has the power to transport us beyond the day-to-day, even the ones we create for ourselves. When you soak in a bathtub with your favorite soap every night, it might seem mundane, but you have actually created a ritual; it's your way of removing the stresses of daily living. Rituals that go along with celebrations also help us mark the beginnings and endings that give shape to our lives: a new year, a coming of age, the first day of spring. You'll find a calendar year of traditional celebrations in these pages. Some of them have evolved from traditions I grew up with or ones my husband, Dan, brought to our relationship from his childhood. I've adapted them to fit our lives. Unlike the families we came from, ours is a small one: myself, Dan, and my thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Dana. Some of the celebrations have been shaped by my experiences traveling around the world as a model, experiencing different cultures. I've always enjoyed sharing these experiences with others. Traveling, and growing up in a town that was home to people from a whole variety of ethnic backgrounds, taught me that there's no right or wrong way to go about celebrating even the most traditional of holidays. Some of the other celebrations you'll find here are my inventions. It's up to you to take what you like of these ideas and add whatever suits your sense of fun or satisfies your personal sense of tradition. Borrow, change, invent--just as I've taken what was passed down to me and given it a new twist that expresses my world and my personality. It's one of the great things about reaching adulthood: As a child, you have to do things the way your family does them; as a grown-up, you can create and re-create all you want. Some of the best ideas come from the most unexpected places; mine can come from movies, a store window display I happen to see, or an old novel I'm reading. That's why in this book I encourage you to trust in your moments of inspiration and follow your impulses. Invent new rituals; in time, they'll become part of the family. Create new traditions: Instead of a single tree for Christmas, why not have two or three, all decorated with a different thought in mind? For Valentine's Day, skip the red roses for a change and get the dinner table (and yourself) all decked out in hot pink. You don't need vast resources to be creative. You just have to be resourceful. Most of the recipes you'll find in this book give a new twist to basic everyday ingredients, and the craft projects make use of materials you're likely to have lying around the house. Beauty can come from the simplest beginnings. That's what I learned from my mother who was an extraordinary hostess and a craftsperson long before it gained the popularity it has today. Food traditions, an important element of any celebration, are open to all kinds of innovation. There's no way you can have a birthday party without a cake or Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey. But a birthday cake doesn't have to be covered with buttercream frosting and roses. Some people I know prefer to arrange birthday candles as a unique centerpiece for the table, and serve fruit instead of the traditional birthday cake. I hope this book inspires you to create events that add something special to your life year after year, just as my nontraditional celebration of mothers and others on Mother's Day is now an annual event, as is Spring Hooky Day, a once-a-year ritual in which friends and I escape from the usual routine and slip away for a day of relaxing kicked off with a wonderful luncheon. Take your inspiration from anything that is unique and special about you and your family and friends. If you are a great gardener, give an outdoor party when your plants are in their fullest bloom. If your kitchen is attractive, plan a party where guests are invited to help themselves to the food directly off the stove. If someone plays an instrument, hold a recital or a sing-along or a Christmas carol party so he or she can perform. If someone likes to heat up the dance floor or dress up, plan a dance or throw a costume party. Find ways to add your own creative touch to every menu and recipe, every table decoration, and every event. Play with ideas, break the rules, have some fun. Make it a family tradition to turn convention on its head by starting a birthday celebration with cake and ice cream for breakfast. Have green eggs on St. Patrick's Day. You and the people in your world can share so much pleasure by creating rituals that are uniquely yours, and then making them part of a celebration that's repeated year after year. NOTE: In order to spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating with friends and family, I'll occasionally use a store-bought item on a menu. I've indicated these menu items in smaller type. Of course, you may want to prepare a homemade version of a store-bought item since it's all about making these rituals and celebrations your own. GRUYERE RISOTTO CAKES WITH HERBED SOUR CREAM AND CAVIAR YIELDS 36 PIECES 5 tablespoons butter 11/4 cups arborio rice 23/4 cups chicken broth, very hot, divided 2 large eggs, beaten 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese 4 tablespoons finely minced fresh oregano or thyme 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs Vegetable oil spray 1/2 cup sour cream 1 ounce black caviar eggs (see Note) Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the rice and stir to coat well for 11        2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the hot broth to rice. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady low simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally. In about 10 minutes, when almost all of the liquid has been absorbed, add 1        2 cup more broth. In about 7 minutes, when the broth is absorbed, test the rice; it should be tender, but still firm. If necessary, continue cooking, adding broth gradually to keep the rice slightly wet. You may not need all of the broth. Cool for a few minutes in the saucepan. Add the eggs, cheese, 3 tablespoons of the oregano or thyme, the salt, and bread crumbs to rice; mix well. Spray a 10-inch pie plate with oil. Pour the rice mixture into pan, spreading evenly to create a flat top. Bake 17 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Cut out shapes to create rice cakes with 11        2 to 2-inch cookie cutters. Reshape the remaining rice mixture to form patties and continue cutting out shapes, using all of the mixture. Place the cakes on a serving platter. Mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oregano or thyme with the sour cream. Place a small dollop of herbed sour cream, then caviar, on top of each risotto cake. Serve. NOTE: You may substitute salmon eggs for the caviar. SPICY FISH CROQUETTES ON CUCUMBER ROUNDS YIELDS 36 PIECES 8 ounces cooked fresh or canned salmon 8 ounces cup crabmeat 3/4 cup Creamy Mashed Potatoes (see page 192) 11/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt Vegetable oil for frying 1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices Chili Mayonnaise (recipe follows) Dill sprigs for garnish In a large bowl, combine the salmon, crab, mashed potatoes, and seasonings. Shape into 1/2-inch round patties. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil and fry the croquettes, without overcrowding, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Heat more oil as needed for the next batch. Keep warm while cooking the remaining croquettes. On each cucumber round, spread some Chili Mayonnaise and top with a croquette. Garnish with a sprig of dill. CHILI MAYONNAISE YIELDS 1/2 CUP 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño pepper Few drops Tabasco sauce In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients. CHICKEN PÂTÉ WITH SWEET APPLE CHUTNEY ON CURRIED TOAST YIELDS 24 SLICES 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 3 tablespoons minced onion 1/2 pound chicken livers 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin 2 tablespoons heavy cream Curried Toast (recipe follows) Sweet Apple Chutney (recipe follows) In a medium skillet, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chicken livers, allspice, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne. Cook the livers until brown on the outside and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly. In a food processor, puree the liver mixture with the gelatin and cream until smooth. Place the puree onto a sheet of waxed paper and roll up tightly into a log about 4 Ñ 2 inches, tucking in the edges well. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Cut the pâté into 24 slices. Place the pâté on top of a slice of Curried Toast and top off with Sweet Apple Chutney. SWEET APPLE CHUTNEY YIELDS ABOUT 1 CUP 3 medium Granny Smith green apples, peeled, cored, halved, and sliced thinly (about 4 cups) 2 tablespoons chopped onion 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (or more to taste) 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons vinegar In a nonreactive 2-quart saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Simmer uncovered over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 35 minutes. (If the apples get too dry, add a splash of water.) Remove from the heat; let cool. Chill until ready to serve. The chutney will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 month. CURRIED TOAST YIELDS 24 SLICES 1 French baguette, sliced thinly on the diagonal Butter, at room temperature Curry powder Brush the bread slices with the soft butter. Sprinkle with curry powder. Place on broil pan and broil briefly until lightly browned; be careful to keep a close watch so as not to burn. BARBECUED PORK TENDERLOIN ON SWEET POTATO PANCAKES YIELDS 24 SLICES 1/4 cup dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons hot paprika 2 teaspoons ground allspice 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 pound pork tenderloin 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1/3 cup B.'s Sweet Maple Barbecue Sauce (see page 109) or store-bought sauce Sweet Potato Pancakes In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, allspice, garlic, pepper, and salt. Mix well. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and coat evenly with the dry rub mixture. Wrap tightly in a sheet of plastic wrap, place on a plate, and let marinate in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bring the pork to room temperature (about 30 minutes). In a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat, warm the oil. Brown the pork on all sides, being careful not to burn. Transfer the pork onto a sheet of foil and place in a shallow baking pan. Place in the oven and roast until a meat thermometer inserted 2 inches into the center registers 155 degrees, about 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and place on a cutting board with drainage slots. Cut the pork into 24 slices. Layer the pork onto a new sheet of foil and return to the baking pan. Drizzle with a mixture of half of the natural juices collected on the cutting board and the barbecue sauce. Bake 5 minutes longer. Place each slice of pork on top of a Sweet Potato Pancake. Excerpted from B. Smith: Rituals and Celebrations by Barbara Smith All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
A New Year's Day Buffetp. 3
Craft: Health, Wealth, and Wisdom Packagep. 7
A Chinese New Year Dinnerp. 14
A Valentine's Day Dinner for Twop. 27
Craft: A Valentine's Day Collagep. 28
A Mardi Gras Buffetp. 39
Dana's Rite-of-Passage Dinnerp. 53
Crafts: T-shirt Invitationp. 56
Memory Bookp. 58
An Easter Dinnerp. 65
Craft: Dyed Easter Basketsp. 68
A Spring Hooky Day Luncheonp. 77
A Mother's Day Celebration for Mothers and Othersp. 83
A Memorial Day Barbecuep. 93
Craft: Weekender Gift Basketsp. 100
A Juneteenth Celebrationp. 103
A Catered Partyp. 112
How to Have a Restaurant Party That You'll Enjoy Like a Guestp. 114
A July Fourth Crab Boilp. 119
A Summer Sandwich Picnicp. 126
A Family Reunionp. 135
A Renewal of Wedding Vows Ceremonyp. 145
A Labor Day Weekend Dinner Partyp. 147
Craft: Personalized Painted Glasswarep. 148
A Bid Whist Card Partyp. 156
An At-Home Wine Tasting with Hors d'Oeuvresp. 165
Halloween Dinner in a Cauldronp. 176
Craft: Decorative Gourdsp. 178
Thanksgiving Dinnerp. 185
A Dessert-Dance Partyp. 196
Christmas at Homep. 205
A Christmas Eve Fonduep. 212
Christmas Dinnerp. 219
A New Year's Eve Pajama Party for Kidsp. 227
Acknowledgmentsp. 232
Creditsp. 234
Resourcesp. 236
Recipe Indexp. 237