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James Beard's Menus For Entertaining: Second Edition [Paperback]

Da Capo Press
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1996
Containing more than one hundred menus and six hundred individual recipes, an updated cookbook offers delectable ideas for all kinds of entertaining situations, with simple shopping lists and preparation tips to assist beginning cooks, as well as culinary complements for culinary experts. Original. IP.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars So Very, Very Helpful Nov. 16 1999
What can you say? The man knew food, and this book has the typical Beardian rightness that we have always come to expect. Clever and tremendously helpful for any type of party concievable. I can only wonder what James would have done in the healthier 1990's with his wonderful ideas; perhaps the only drawback are the meat-oriented menues. But any clever cook will know how to adapt. The floorplan is completely layed out for you -- a boon to any serious entertainer.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not just for experienced cooks July 26 2007
By C. Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Another review mentions this book as being for experienced cooks. I beg to differ. This classic genuinely taught me to entertain. As an inexperienced young bride with no clue as to what to whip up for dinner parties of any size this was an invaluable resource. And more than 35 years later I still rely on this tattered old book to inspire me. Thank you dear Mr. Beard for years and years of great recipes. This book buillt my confidence as a cook and hostess oh so many years ago and still helps me win raves. In my opinion this book is a "must have."
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat out of date but still very useful March 25 2008
By Patrick W. Crabtree - Published on Amazon.com
This book is all about entertaining guests on either a formal or informal level -- doing it right, one might say. I cook a great deal and have conducted many such get-togethers and Beard's advice has been sound every time I have referred to his instruction.

The work was published in 1965, so issues such as "healthy foods" are not really a focal point -- and some would say that Beard was a bit dated himself even at that late stage of his career; however, James Beard was a renowned and brilliant chef, clearly a master at the art of putting on a dinner party for any number of people.

The work is all-inclusive, covering: breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, buffets, cocktail parties, and celebrations. There's also a very useful section on entertaining outdoors which was a particular specialty of Beard's. The wine and liqueur guide is probably the most out-of-date facet of the work since paradigms and recipes concerning this topic have changed radically since the 60s.

Included in this how-to guide are 600 superb recipes. Beard was a strong believer in scratch cooking so if you're thinking "canned" or "frozen" for your get-together, the recipes herein will be of little use to you.

As an example, for an "after-theater" buffet for 12, Beard suggests, (and yields up the recipes for), raw vegetables, dipping sauce, Lamb Marrakech, rice with pinenuts, cheese board, french bread, and fresh fruit. The book itself is a hardcover volume and almost 400 pages in length.

The book can be stuck away on a shelf for reference but one would also find that it's enjoyable reading on a rainy Saturday. Beard's clear writing style will certainly hold your attention.

Any home entertainer would find the information in this fine book valuable.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Golden Oldie. Rich material for experienced entertainers. May 17 2007
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
'Menus for Entertaining' by premier American cuisine writer, James Beard is a rich source of something rare in culinary books today, the no nonsense reference for people who already know how to cook, but need a wide variety of options for putting together interesting menus for entertaining. This may be the very best possible companion to Martha Stewart's classic 'Entertaining' book, which deals with just about everything else.

I say this book is for people who already know how to cook in that virtually all the recipes give the essentials, with none of the copious sidebars or headnotes so familiar in books today. This is the Joe Friday of cookbooks. We want 'just the facts, Mame'. While Beard avoids no subject, from classic French sauces to Pennsylvania Dutch specialities such as Shoo fly pie and pickled eggs, he gives everything straight up, with few frills. That is not to say he takes shortcuts. The brioche recipe is shorter than most, but it does not abbreviate the need to let brioche dough raise overnight. On the other hand, the recipe for 'beurre blanc' is much shorter than the recipe in James Patterson's classic 'Sauces', leaving out several of the niceities, such as straining the shallots out of the sauce to give us a velvety smooth result.

The very best thing about Beard's work is that it covers so many different practical situations, including over a dozen different kinds of breakfasts and 'mid-day' meals (he distains the term 'brunch'). There is also rich information on both wines and cordials.

One nice thing about the book is that it almost seems to be an MS from a bygone day, where people commonly entertained with breakfast, lunch, and dinner parties, at least in the fantasy world of Noel Coward plays.

Beard's advice on general planning is excellent. Like Stewart, Beard also started out as a caterer, although he moved on to writing after only a year or so, but he was also an inveterate entertainer himself, and he did it with practically no help in the kitchen.

This book may be worth any three 'Gourmet' annual 'Best of' books, at a sixth of the price.
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers the question about what to cook April 2 2014
By Dennis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Classical menus that might in 2014 seem dated to a few. I like the thought that I can see what might have been served at an affair some short time ago. All the things that I have made from this book were well received. I might be a conservative but certain occasions seem to ask for certain foods and this book gives the menu and how to prepare them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful old cookbook May 30 2010
By C. Burdick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Every once in a while I stumble across a Beard cookbook I don't have. Found this one and his Four Seasons cookbook on Amazon and bought both. If you love Beard, this is a fine addition to your collection. A little dated, but still fun.
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