Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lovely Book: The Dinner Party Diary


Do you like to keep a record of your dinner parties, take notes about seating arrangements, favorite recipes and choice suppliers? The Dinner Party Diary is the perfect book for you!  It even includes some witty quotes and extra pages for inspiration.

I had the opportunity to ask its author, Deborah Greenspan, a few questions about her book:

1-Where did you get the idea for this lovely & practical book?

I kept my own spiral-bound notebook for years. I’m absolutely Type A, and so I take great comfort in being organized! Plus, it would drive me crazy when I couldn’t remember my neighbor’s favorite drink or the delicious chili I had served the winter prior. So I got in the habit of taking notes on the events I hosted, including the guests that attended, what I served, and those dishes that people loved (or not). Friends commented on how much they liked the idea, so I tried to find one for hostess gifts. But there was nothing that contained the information I knew was important in the price range I was looking I decided to make my own!

2-What would be your #1 tip about seating arrangements?

Disregard the old tradition about sitting at the head of the table. In fact, I suggest that you sit right in the middle! That way, you can engage the whole table in a discussion (if the table is small), or you can direct your attention to a side of the table where conversation may be a little lacking.

3-What are your top 5 entertaining do's and don'ts?

5)      Use Post-It Notes to mark the serving pieces you will use for each dish. You’ll never again be taking something out of the oven and suddenly realize the only large dish available is in the attic.

4)   If children are invited, let them eat first. I have three young boys, and I know my only chance of having an adult conversation is if they are not in the room. So I usually feed the children first, and then set them up in another room with a movie.

3)   Serve more than one course. Nothing is more frustrating than spending days preparing a meal, only to have it devoured and done in 15 minutes. I usually serve salad or soup first, and clear it away before I serve the main course. That way the dinner is more drawn out and leisurely.

2)      Never clear the table right away! My favorite dinner parties have guests lingering around a candlelit table for hours, just dwelling in the pleasure of good friends and conversation.

1)      Relax. Your guests will remember the energy of the evening far longer than they remember the dishes you served.

4- Do you have a favorite recipe when you have guests over for dinner?

My favorite recipe for the winter holidays is a brisket recipe that a friend shared with me many years ago. It is absolutely delicious and incredibly easy. Be sure to save the leftovers for brisket sandwiches!

·  4-5 lb brisket
·  4 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce
·  6 oz. orange juice
·  1 12-oz. jar of chili sauce (I use Heinz)

Combine browning sauce, orange juice, and chili sauce. Take 2 long pieces of aluminum foil and place them in a 9x11” dish so that the foil pieces make a “t.” Place brisket in center of foil and pour mixture over brisket. Pinch together aluminum foil pieces at top and on sides so that it makes a foil “packet.” Make sure the mixture does not leak out the sides and into the dish. Cook for approximately 3 hours at 325 degrees or until done.

5- What was your favorite dinner party and why?

My favorite dinner party was for my 40th birthday. I always like to celebrate special occasions in my home and add to the memories there. I had an all-girls event—women of different ages and backgrounds who have supported and inspired me throughout my life. We ate. We drank. We laughed. We danced. It was perfect.  

Thank you Deborah!! You can find her book here.

You can participate in my first book giveaway!

(Images via here)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all these beautiful photos!
It's wonderful!
Have a good evening!

Terri said...

This was great! I personally think 'The Dinner Party Diary' is essential to all those who love to entertain...with style.