Cover image for Entertaining for dummies
Entertaining for dummies
Pollak, Suzanne Williamson, 1956-
Publication Information:
Foster City, CA : IDG Books Worldwide, [1997]

Physical Description:
xxv, 358 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:

Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1471 .W753 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV1471 .W753 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From small dinner parties to big-time shindigs, Entertaining For Dummies shows you how to impress and pamper your guests no matter what the occasion. It's full of fresh, creative ideas and proven tips for creating an unforgettable experience - at your daughter's sweet sixteen birthday party, a fancy dinner in honor of your boss, or any other get-together.

Whether you're a homemaker in need of creative ideas for your next big party, or a busy professional who needs to impress the boss without spending a bundle, Entertaining For Dummies covers all the bases - from planning, to decorating, to cooking, to hosting. Regardless of the size of the event or its purpose, you'll find helpful tips on these topics and more:

Planning large or small events Designing distinctive invitations and a balanced menu Creating a comfortable atmosphere in any space Making your guests feel welcome Hosting a business gathering in your home Treating the family to special events like picnics, birthday parties, and Sunday dinners Hosting theme events like costume parties

Renowned entertaining speaker Suzanne Williamson offers all the expert advice you need to make every event a success - from black-tie parties to backyard barbecues. She'll give you all the tools and tips you need to get organized and get your party off the ground. Whether you're entertaining for a dozen or a thousand, you'll find everything you need right here:

Organize a last-minute party Use your imagination to create a unique atmosphere Drinks-from cocktails to coffee Table settings and food presentation Hire a disc jockey or band Cope with accidents, emergencies, and unplanned occurrences Entertain during the holidays Parties for children from tots to teens Entertain for business associates or government officials Solutions for common cooking disasters

If you want step-by-step help on getting your party off the ground, or just a reliable reference for trouble-shooting those unforeseen emergencies, Entertaining For Dummies is the only book you need. It's full of creative ideas that making throwing your next party a blast - and a breeze.

Author Notes

About the Authors Suzanne Williamson is a renowned entertaining expert and speaker. As the daughter of a foreign service diplomat, she has lived and traveled around the world and has experienced a vast array of entertaining styles throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa. Her seminars have drawn overwhelming response nationwide. In addition to giving lectures, she is currently coauthoring a cookbook with bestselling novelist Pat Conroy. Linda Smith is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in a number of local, regional, and national publications. She is currently coauthoring a book about children's parties.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xxvi
Introductionp. 1
About This Bookp. 2
Foolish Assumptionsp. 3
How This Book Is Organizedp. 3
Part I Party Planning 101p. 3
Part II Eating and Drinkingp. 4
Part III Minor Details, Major Impressionsp. 4
Part IV Occasional Opportunitiesp. 4
Part V The Part of Tensp. 4
Part VI Appendixesp. 4
Icons Used in This Bookp. 5
Where to Go from Herep. 6
Part I Party Planning 101p. 7
Chapter 1 Ge ting Started: You Have What It Takesp. 9
Party Partsp. 9
Developing the right attitudep. 10
Power of the peoplep. 11
Coming up with a planp. 11
Secrets to Successp. 13
Chapter 2 Guess Who's Coming to Dinnerp. 15
Making a List, Checking It Twicep. 15
Mixing and matchingp. 16
Some methods to the madnessp. 17
What's in a Number?p. 19
Dinner partiesp. 20
Large partiesp. 20
Cocktail partiesp. 21
Buffetsp. 21
Having Some Fun with Seating Arrangementsp. 22
Smart seating strategiesp. 22
CPR for your partyp. 23
Chapter 3 Secrets to the "Big O": Organizationp. 25
Getting the Big Picturep. 25
It's about timep. 27
Scheduling the preparationsp. 29
Three Useful Lists to Makep. 29
List No. 1 Shopping list--Everything you need to buyp. 30
List No. 2 Task list--Everything you need to do before the day of the partyp. 30
List No. 3 The day of the party list--Everything you have to do the day of the partyp. 31
Surviving the Day of the Partyp. 31
Making and using a timetablep. 33
Enlisting helpp. 34
Cleanup and recoveryp. 35
Organizing a Spur-of-the-Moment Partyp. 35
Chapter 4 Invitationsp. 37
Deciding Whether to Write or Callp. 37
Invitations by Phonep. 38
Using one guest to entice anotherp. 39
When to callp. 40
Invitations by Mailp. 41
Choosing the right invitationp. 42
Creating Unique and Unusual Invitationsp. 45
When you have a way with wordsp. 45
When you want to make a bold statementp. 46
Getting Responsesp. 48
Chapter 5 Choosing and Using Spacep. 51
Choosing a Space for Your Partyp. 51
Big ideas for small spacesp. 52
Choosing a tablep. 53
Decoratingp. 54
Little thoughts for big housesp. 54
Alternative spacesp. 55
The kitchenp. 55
The bedroomp. 57
The bathroomp. 57
The roofp. 57
The great outdoorsp. 58
Renting Spacep. 59
Finding spacep. 59
Renting a tentp. 59
Moving People through Spacep. 61
Chapter 6 Creating the Atmospherep. 63
It's All in Your Imaginationp. 64
Targeting the Five Sensesp. 64
Using the Sense of Touchp. 65
Appealing to the Sense of Sightp. 67
Engaging the Sense of Hearingp. 68
Delighting the Sense of Smellp. 70
Bombarding the Sense of Tastep. 71
Part II Eating and Drinkingp. 75
Chapter 7 Dreaming Up the Perfect Menup. 77
Decisions, Decisionsp. 77
Considering the Season and the Weatherp. 78
Year-round choicesp. 79
Tricking palatesp. 81
Pleasing Peoplep. 81
Suiting the Occasionp. 83
Creating a Themep. 84
Highlight one food or flavorp. 84
Focus on colorp. 86
Explore international avenuesp. 87
No-Hassle and No-Cooking Menu Approachesp. 89
Mail orderp. 89
Caterersp. 90
Take-out and deliveryp. 90
Convenience foods and grocery store servicesp. 91
Chapter 8 Balancing Menusp. 93
Figuring Out What Foods Go Togetherp. 94
Deciding How Many Courses to Servep. 96
Limiting the number of coursesp. 97
When to serve many coursesp. 99
Choosing the right recipesp. 100
Pacing the Mealp. 102
First and Last Impressionsp. 103
Taste teasers: hors d'oeuvres and appetizersp. 104
The grand finale: dessertp. 104
Fruit dessertsp. 105
Ice creams, yogurts, and sorbetsp. 106
Show stoppersp. 107
Determining How Much Food to Preparep. 108
Suiting Your Lifestylep. 109
Balancing the menu with your time and abilityp. 109
Time-saving do-aheadsp. 110
Balancing no-cook menusp. 111
Chapter 9 Cocktails to Coffeep. 113
Planning Your Party around the Drinksp. 114
Wining and Diningp. 117
Serving winep. 118
How many glasses do you really need?p. 119
Put the "Happy" in Happy Hourp. 119
Barring Everythingp. 122
Where to set up your barp. 122
Stocking the barp. 123
Half gallons, liters, or fifths?p. 126
Frozen waterp. 126
When, why, and how to hire a bartenderp. 127
Coffee, Tea, or Cordials?p. 129
Swimming in the Bathtub with Jim Beamp. 131
Part III Minor Details, Major Impressionsp. 133
Chapter 10 Table Settings and Food Presentationp. 135
Deciding on a Serving Stylep. 135
Setting the Tablep. 137
Mix, match, and make dop. 137
The great cover-upp. 138
It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's a napkinp. 139
China versus Chinetp. 140
What to do with forks, knives, and spoonsp. 141
Glassesp. 141
Putting It All Togetherp. 142
Un-setting a Tablep. 143
Blooms and Beyond: Center Attractionsp. 145
Flower powerp. 146
Weeds, twigs, and other natural wondersp. 147
Good enough to eatp. 148
Odds and endsp. 148
Presenting the Foodp. 149
Choosing a serving piecep. 149
To garnish or not to garnish?p. 150
Drum roll, please!p. 151
Chapter 11 Bring on the Entertainmentp. 153
Entertainment for Small Partiesp. 153
Entertainment for Large Partiesp. 156
Finding the Entertainment You Wantp. 158
Hiring a disc jockey or bandp. 159
Considering your budgetp. 160
Getting guests to dancep. 161
Chapter 12 Manners, Conversations, and Coping Mechanismsp. 163
Be a Thoughtful Hostp. 163
Make your invitations clearp. 164
Your number one priority: greeting guestsp. 164
If you serve it, will they come?p. 165
Getting people to go homep. 167
Be a Great Guestp. 168
Preparing for the partyp. 170
Coming and going: It's fashionable to be on timep. 170
In between hello and goodbyep. 171
Etiquette for Eatingp. 172
Making Conversationp. 175
Small talkp. 176
Dinner conversationsp. 178
It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want Top. 180
Coping with breaks and spillsp. 181
Coping with accidents and emergenciesp. 182
Coping when you are a guestp. 183
Part IV Occasional Opportunitiesp. 185
Chapter 13 Everyday Celebrationsp. 187
What's for Dinner?p. 188
Where can you find the time?p. 188
Elevate ordinary meals to extraordinary new heightsp. 190
A Meal Is a Terrible Thing to Wastep. 191
Making children feel specialp. 191
Meals to make togetherp. 193
Spending time with friendsp. 195
Make pizzasp. 196
Pack a picnicp. 198
Organize a potluckp. 201
Tea partiesp. 202
Filling a friend's freezerp. 204
Dining Alonep. 205
Chapter 14 Holiday Entertainingp. 207
What Do You Expect?p. 208
Family Gatheringsp. 208
Making menu choicesp. 209
Creating a festive lookp. 210
Holiday Partiesp. 212
Indulging guests with special foodsp. 212
Creating a festive atmospherep. 212
Adding some actionp. 215
Staying Alive from Thanksgiving to the New Yearp. 216
Coping with relativesp. 216
Guide to Thanksgivingp. 217
Countdown to the big dayp. 219
Celebrating New Year's Eve: The last hurrahp. 219
Chapter 15 Big Partiesp. 221
How Big Is Big?p. 222
What Kind of Party Can It Be?p. 223
Cocktail partiesp. 223
Buffetsp. 225
Seated dinnersp. 227
Outdoor partiesp. 228
Developing a Central Themep. 230
Big-Party Pizzazzp. 231
Big-party guestsp. 232
Big-party invitationsp. 233
Big-party foodp. 234
Big-party atmospherep. 235
You Need Helpp. 237
Don't Blow Your Budgetp. 239
Make a Plan and Stick to Itp. 240
Party Timep. 243
Chapter 16 Tots to Teens: Planning Parties for Childrenp. 245
Making Your Child's Dayp. 245
Planning Your Child's Partyp. 246
Special considerationsp. 246
Themes and schemesp. 247
Guest Lists and Invitationsp. 248
Kid-Friendly Foodp. 250
Activities and Entertainmentp. 251
Fun for all agesp. 252
Entertaining teensp. 257
Chapter 17 Business Entertainingp. 259
You Need a Purposep. 260
Hosting a Business Party at Homep. 261
The first step: Getting people to show upp. 262
Food for thoughtp. 264
Mixing beverages with businessp. 266
Seating arrangementsp. 267
Ranking your guestsp. 268
Creating a seating chartp. 268
Setting up and servingp. 270
Entertaining in Restaurantsp. 271
Selecting an appropriate placep. 271
Who coughs up the cash?p. 274
Making Your Conversations Countp. 275
Entertaining Government Officials and International Business Representativesp. 275
Planning a Charity Affairp. 276
Find a new and different placep. 276
Pick the right dayp. 277
Seat people where they want to sitp. 277
Make the dress code easyp. 277
Serve plain, good foodp. 278
The entertainmentp. 279
Part V The Part of Tensp. 281
Chapter 18 Ten Times Five = Fifty More Menusp. 283
Indulging Your Food Fantasiesp. 283
Suiting Your Lifestylep. 285
Menus to keep your heart healthyp. 285
Menus that cost two cents and take three secondsp. 285
Menus without meatp. 286
Clearly Having Funp. 287
Adding an unusual touchp. 288
Feeding family and loved onesp. 289
Inviting the whole crowdp. 290
A menu for every seasonp. 291
Chapter 19 Solutions to Ten Common Cooking Disastersp. 293
Still Kickingp. 294
Heat Exhaustedp. 294
Blackened (But not on Purpose)p. 294
Completely Tastelessp. 295
Too Salty, Too Spicyp. 296
All Pooped Outp. 297
Curdled or Lumpyp. 297
Mushyp. 298
Just Plain Uglyp. 298
Downright Messyp. 298
Chapter 20 Ten (Or So) Once-in-a-Lifetime Partiesp. 301
Taking a Trip to Another Worldp. 301
Stage a masqueradep. 302
Journey to ancient Egyptp. 302
Black and white masked ballp. 302
Go on a gambling junketp. 302
Celebrate the harvest moon--western stylep. 303
Attend a Hollywood movie premierp. 304
Relive the big band erap. 305
Take a trip back in time to the 1970sp. 305
Offering Guests a Mini Vacationp. 306
Set up your own day spap. 306
Bring Hawaii to your backyardp. 307
Celebrating Life, Love, and New Beginningsp. 308
Welcome a new addition to the family (baby showers)p. 309
Honor individuals (birthdays)p. 309
Rejoice in the joining of two lives (engagements and weddings)p. 310
Commemorate your wedding day (anniversaries)p. 311
Doing Something Unexpectedp. 312
Block partyp. 312
Invite your good-humored friends for a totally tacky good timep. 314
Chapter 21 Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Entertainingp. 315
Do I need a reason to entertain?p. 315
Should I invite tall dark strangers, the new kid on the block, or the letter carrier?p. 316
How do I keep the single guest from feeling like the fifth wheel or odd man out?p. 316
Should I tell my guests what to wear or let them surprise each other?p. 316
I get confused and frustrated about what to serve. How can I get started?p. 316
Before I plan my menu, should I request medical records and ask guests whether they hate spinach?p. 317
How can I get guests out of the dining room and on to some place more comfortable after dinner?p. 317
How can I stop that crazy guest who insists on doing my dishes?p. 317
What should I do if one of my guests intimidates me?p. 317
How can I stop feeling like a nervous wreck when I entertain?p. 318
Part VI Appendixesp. 319
Appendix A Evaluating Your Partyp. 321
Blast or Bomb?p. 321
Why Failures Happen and How to Prevent Themp. 323
The Final Analysisp. 324
Appendix B Entertaining Calendarp. 325
Appendix C Resource Listp. 337
Meatsp. 337
Beefp. 337
Porkp. 337
Poultry and gamep. 338
Seafoodp. 338
Pastas and Grainsp. 339
Cheesesp. 339
Dessertsp. 339
Coffee and Teap. 340
Miscellaneousp. 340
Varietyp. 341
Cookware and Equipmentp. 342
Tablewarep. 342
Party Propsp. 342
Indexp. 343