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Party Snacks!
By A.J. Rathbun
ISBN: 1558323473
Publisher: Harvard Common Press
Publication date: September 2008
Format: Hardcover
List price: $12.95 
Type: Entertaining
Sample recipe: Melon Ballers
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: 50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: For the late Leonore Annenberg, the key to entertaining successfully was, "first of all to have interesting people.” For A.J. Rathbun, it is the quality of the food that transforms a party from a social obligation to a pleasure, and he has put together a book of recipes to help your pull that off.

The 50 recipes fall into such categories as spreads and toppings, foods on skewers, stuffed snacks, baked foods, and treats that can be put together very quickly. Some are be expected – crudités, watercress finger sandwiches, an antipasto platter, chicken wings, bruschetta; others are less familiar – white bean and rosemary paté, creamy cauliflower crisps, savory cannoli stuffed with corn and cheese, eggplant parmesan toasts, etc. All in all, there's a nice mix.

If any ingredients are going to be hard to find, they will be among the many cheeses Rathbun chooses. And, oh yes, that Tiger Sauce and sriracha sauce. You'll also need a food processor to pull off a fair number of these dishes.

As the author of a couple of books on cocktails, he makes suggestions here and there for beverages that might accompany some of his snacks. And he provides other suggestions to keep you from being overwhelmed, so that you have fun at your own party.


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