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OP: Entertaining

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by Martha Stewart

Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1982. Hardcover. Very Good in a Very Good jacket. Later printing.

Entertaining (1982) is the book that launched the Martha Stewart revolution in the way that America—and in time much of Europe—came to use the preparation and service of food as a social instrument. That in itself was nothing new. Rare dishes and elaborate presentations have long been statements of status. 

However, Stewart (1941– ), a talented, successful Connecticut caterer, allowed people to amplify these statements by adding to them an impressive do-it-yourself component. Creating design ideas and providing instructions, she enabled her readers to turn out, with their own hands, marvelous, good looking platters, tables, and rooms that reflected well not only on their taste but on their commitment to being superlative hosts. 

The title of the opening chapter, “Entertaining with Style,” says it all. Whether directing people in turning out eye-catching cocktails, brightly colored and sprinkled with gold flecks, or trays of dazzling canapés, Martha (as she quickly became branded), made it possible for every event to be impressive and memorable. Additional chapters cover subjects like omelette parties—including a Sunday brunch for eight to ten, a midnight party for thirty, and an outdoor brunch for sixty—buffets, hors d'oeuvre, dinner parties, holiday parties, and weddings. 

This was and remains an impressive work for those who take entertaining seriously. It was a massive national seller and the first of an epic presence on the American scene. Its influence has never fallen off. We offer here a later printing in Very Good condition with a Very Good jacket. Iconic.

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