My how time flies when you’re doing what you love most! It was a mere twenty-five years ago at The Museum of Fine Arts in Texas and my first larger than life catering event. My inspiration came from the elegant ball at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. I selected a menu from the decadent pages of Christopher Idone’s classic cookbook Glorious Food.
If you are looking to host the perfect dinner party or throw a summer soiree during the final months of the season, designing the perfect party for your guests is as easy as diving head first into a cookbook. Be it a throwback theme with vintage cocktails or modern day poolside dinner, let the memories begin with a cookbook that is legendary.
A few of my favorite ‘ah ha’ cookbook moments emanate from my travels discovering cookbooks in other countries while perusing a flea market or crowded bookstore. Many of my favorite gifts over the years are cookbooks I’ve brought to life for thousands of guests or utilized for intimate parties of eight. I devour cookbooks daily, enjoying every page while testing and modifying the ingredients in our award-winning kitchen.
The following are a few cookbooks I have celebrated from my prized collection. Enjoy the journey into the creative worlds of cookbooks and don’t pass up a treasure if you find one! Thousands of cookbooks await you and are filled with jewels of the culinary worlds!
by Christopher Idone (Steward, Tabori & Chang, Inc Publishers, New York, 1982). The menu I chose for the museum party from this classic cookbook was a reminder of court balls of years past. This “gone-forever party style” was inspired by the exhibit’s Costume Institute’s exhibit. My goal was to delight their palates with a presentation of Coquilles Saint-Jacques, Cold Fillet of Beef and Veal with Mustard Sauce. Add a Potato and Cucumber Salad with Julienne of Truffle, a Mélange of Fresh Vegetables Vinaigrette and Charlotte Russe and it was smooth sailing from the first to final course!
Cooking With Josephine
by Josephine Araldo (Strawberry Hill Press, 1977). My trip to France was made most memorable as I lingered through a Paris Flea Market and discovered this well known icon’s cookbook filled with her love of life and sense of humor. In 1927, Josephine Araldo attended the Cordon Beu receiving the Diplome in “Les Cours de Cuisine et de Patisserie.” She later gave private cooking lessons to society women and taught over 4,000 students the art of French cuisine stressing the fundamentals and end economy of cooking. This book was dedicated to her lover, Charles and filled with Josephine’s tips on mastering “The Leftover.” I read every word on the plane ride back to America as I enjoyed her chapters on sauces, garnishes, pates, Hors d’Oeurvres and consider it a prized possession.
The New York Times Heritage Cook Book
by Jean Hewitt (The New York Times Company, 1972) The seventies were a very good year for cookbooks! In fact, when I discovered this unprecedented issue from The New York Time’s reporter and Home Economist of The New York Times, I could not resist it. This award-winning veteran writer joined the paper in 1961 and her book shelves of recipes are cherished in the cookbook world. I never pass up one of Jean Hewitt’s books when I find them and to this day continue to refer to her compilations as staples in my collection. From the Northeast to the Southwest and beyond, Josephine takes us on a journey with more than 2,100 recipes from all over America.
Yes, cookbook collecting is a lifelong passion and reflects my love of food, and lifelong learning. And when guests ask you where did you find your fabulous recipes? You’ll have the perfect cocktail story to share filled with fond memories to relive and enjoy. Ah, the moments of our lives we remember, sit back and bask in them. Like fine wine and delicious food that instantly puts you in a state of nirvana, the memories are fleeting and should be savored!
About A Legendary Event
Formed in 1997, A Legendary Event has grown into a multi-million dollar full-service event enterprise, handling more than 2,500 events, corporate events, world class galas and weddings a year. Known for his Midas touch, Tony Conway is admired by top CEOs, celebrities and politicians for his attention to detail and penchant for providing fresh, trend-setting and uniquely presented fare, always with the client in mind. A Legendary Event is located in Atlanta and can be reached at (404) 869-8858. For more information, please visit www.alegendaryevent.com