There’s no need to stress about hosting a dinner party, Debi Shawcross says in her new cookbook, “Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Cookbook” (Franklin Green Publishing, $24.95, hardcover).
In the 246-page book, she offers home cooks help in planning dinner parties - some elegant, others casual - that will wow guests and allow the host to enjoy the party.
The author, whose company, Signature Menus of Richmond, Va., teaches people how to cook and plan menus, has organized her cookbook by seasonal menus. She includes five menus with easy-to-follow recipes for each of the year’s four seasons, beginning with Fall Favorites.
She also provides shopping lists and plan-ahead schedules, and she suggests wine pairings and ideas for decorating the table.
The book, illustrated with full-color photographs, opens with a discussion about supper clubs. Supper clubs of the 1930s and 1940s were places “for people to meet and enjoy an evening of fine dining, drinks, and usually live musical entertainment,” she writes. “The setting was semiformal, which may have required a tie. The menu often included ?surf and turf,’ mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding. These supper clubs launched many musical careers and introduced the ?doggie bag.’ “
Today, the term “supper club” refers to a group of friends who share an interest in fine food and meet at home on a regular schedule of their choosing. Shawcross suggests ideas for organizing a supper club and for setting “an ambiance of cool comfort.”
Among the book’s recipes are Endive Cups Filled With Roquefort, Lemon and Walnuts; Shrimp and Scallops With Light Tomato Caper Sauce and Fettuccini; Italian Rum Cake With Custard Filling; Slow-Roasted Hoisin-Glazed Pork Roast; Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Crisps; and Artichoke and Tomato Tartlets.
This is a cookbook that will be welcomed by any supper club member who needs inspiration in menu planning.
Here is a recipe from the cookbook to try: