Book Review: all in good taste!

9:42 AM

In honor of my year of parties, I've been reading a lot of advice in books, blogs, and magazines about hosting celebrations. One of the best sources of new and different party-throwing ideas I've come across is Kate Spade's latest coffee table book, all in good taste.

This book is irreverent, whimsical, and fun. The fake water stain on the front cover is only one of the many ways the authors subvert your expectations about what a book about entertaining should be. Other books in the genre often feature a well-known socialite looking relaxed at a "casual, intimate gathering" surrounded by wedding-worthy flower arrangements and appetizers that look like Martha Stewart's minions have been perfecting them for years. By contrast, this book is mostly text and doesn't scrimp on practical advice.

all in good taste is broken down into four sections: Entertaining, Wining & Dining, Manners, and Style. The Entertaining section begins with advice on setting the scene with music and/or flowers, as well suggestions of quirky ways to invite guests and to decorate your venue. The aim seems to be getting us all out of a celebration rut and making our get-togethers fresh and different. 

Then the Wining & Dining section (sassily subtitled "Let's dish.") explains what to serve for a successful get-together. I love the chart with two columns of appetizers (one fancy and one casual), which advises you to choose one bite-sized plate from each column for an unexpected pairing. There are recipes, suggested menus, and even a list of 21 thing to do with tomatoes.

The Manners section is my favorite. Some pages feature quotes, while others feature ladylike advice you'd expect from the refined yet flirty Kate Spade brand.

In addition reminding us of the glamour of lipstick prints on napkins, there's also a section called "art of flirtation" where the classic "hello, stranger." remains their favorite go-to alluring line.

The final section, Style, is the shortest, but it's full of useful advice about how to arrange your home to its best advantage. I'm rereading their tips in "the art of the salon wall" as I figure out how to set up a gallery wall above our sofa. The book suggests thinking about how guests experience your home, using each of the five senses, for example putting out scented candles so your home smells pleasant and textured rugs to entice guests' sense of touch.

Oh and I love that there's a section on how to foster clever banter at gatherings you host!

The endpapers are printed with this gorgeous table-setting illustration, which I adore:

I'm definitely going to use this book to enliven any party I throw this year! Let me know in the comments if there are any entertaining books you recommend!

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