Book Brief: Entertaining
Planning a special meal can be simple—and fun—with the help of Williams-Sonoma Entertaining. This book reveals the secrets to hosting stylish parties without the stress.

Designed for hosts who lead busy lives, the book offers step-by-step directions for memorable events that require minimal effort. The 16 menus, organized by seasons, provide inspiration throughout the year—from a summer seaside supper to a hearty winter breakfast. The recipes showcase fresh, seasonal ingredients, with dishes like asparagus and morel mushrooms for an Easter brunch, and berry cobbler for a summer barbecue. Much of the work can be done in advance, and most dishes can be finished later in just a few minutes.

Each menu includes a work plan, so you'll know exactly what needs to be done during the days and hours leading up to the gathering. You'll also find entertaining tips and decorating and style ideas.

For truly celebratory events, there are no limits to the imagination. Create invitations that set the mood for your party from the very start. Silver foil tubes decorated with festive stars will entice your guests to a sparkling New Year's Eve cocktail party. Or let the magic of your party linger for weeks. A backyard summer barbecue becomes even more memorable with homemade party favors—canning jars filled with preserves, pickles or barbecue sauce for guests to enjoy at home.

You needn't wait for a special occasion to host a party. A midweek supper menu provides tips for casual entertaining. In no time, you'll be sharing an Italian-inspired dinner, featuring penne with sausage and spinach, with a roomful of friends. Selecting quality store-bought products, such as olives, meats and cheeses, makes it easy to prepare an enticing antipasto tray, while bundling flatware in napkins adds a touch of style to even the simplest kitchen buffet.

Beautiful color photographs offer close-up views of every dish and table setting. Along with inspiring ideas, you'll also find plenty of practical advice. A chapter on planning a party guides you through every step, from setting a date to planning the menu and selecting the wines. A section on the elements of the table discusses dinnerware, glassware, flatware and linens, as well as setting both formal and informal tables.

A team of experts, under the editorial direction of Chuck Williams, collaborated on this impressive volume. Together, they've created an indispensable guide to entertaining that ensures you'll have just as much fun as your guests.