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Company: The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others

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by Amy Thielen
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Although Company is a menu cookbook, from the beginning Amy Thielen stresses that you should not “feel pressured to make these menus in their entirety from start to finish.”

That’s a clue to the relaxed, very human attitude she takes toward having friends over. She wants to provide you with menus and recipes and ideas that will be useful, but she also wants you to be at ease with the whole process. Which includes just choosing one recipe out of the book to serve whenever you want, to whomever you like.

Thielen’s menus offer a friendly combination of imagination and practicality. They’re grouped into four categories: 

  • Saturday night dinners for six to eight people
  • Holiday tables for eight to twelve people
  • Seasonal parties such a birthdays for six to ten people
  • Buffets for fifteen, twenty, or more

Also noteworthy is that, as a Minnesotan, Thielen’s frame of reference is just as likely to include the start of hunting season as Thanksgiving. But that doesn’t mean her exposure is narrow.  When she calls upon her garden it can be to make a smoky vegetable terrine or for muskmelon which she incorporates into a Caprese salad. Her creamed spinach is enlivened with poblano peppers, and her Thanksgiving turkey is extra crisp from the lardo she forces under its skin.

Thielen clearly likes to talk about recipes. Both her headnotes and the instructions are friendly and encouraging, full of cues and opportunities to personalize. It’s all part of the generous spirit of this book.


Hardcover. Color photographs throughout. 

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