With the emphasis on “easy,” Marlene Sorosky describes this “easy entertaining” cookbook as a practical guide meant to be “tattered and splattered” in the kitchen. Major sections include breakfasts and brunches, luncheons, dinners, and “Spectaculars,” each accompanied by detailed menus which clearly organize the individual recipes into a presentation for entertaining. While Sorosky insists that this is NOT a coffee-table book, the lavish color photographs are an uplifting addition and are often artistic, as in the colorful photograph of purple irises on the table with green cucumber soup and pink salmon.
Recipes for many standard American dishes include New England clam chowder, Pacific Northwest salmon broil, and one of the “spectaculars,” the “Santa Fe Chili Blowout” buffet. There are several exotic, ethnic-inspired dishes that are Americanized in taste, ingredients, and preparation. For example, the most unusual ingredients in the Middle East moussaka are ground lamb and eggplant. There is a very good section on barbecuing, which includes “fired-up Cajun shrimp” and an extravaganza called “All-American Backyard Barbecue,” which consists of chicken, ribs, corn, coleslaw, and other traditional delights.
Calling the salmon dinner menu “Salmonchanted Evening” is typical of the refreshingly unpretentious tone throughout. The photographs are carefully captioned, making it easy to see what each dish will look like, and the menus tie in well with the text. The index is especially helpful, often listing ingredients individually, so a cook with an abundance of oranges can look up “oranges” in the index and find fourteen dishes in which they play a part, from orange-blossom coffee cake to South Seas chicken salad. Though practical and down-to-earth, this cookbook has a lot of class; it is highly recommended for the holiday season.