Skip to main content

Cookbook Review: Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Entertaining

Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Entertaining

Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Entertaining

Title: Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Entertaining

Year of Publication: 1991

Published by: BCA by arrangement with Ebury Press

Pages: Hardcover - 288 pages

Cookery Editor: Janet Smith

Editor: Robin Ayrdon

'Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Entertaining' is a colourful cookbook containing a list of more than 350 recipes for different occasions.

It contain 34 menu suitable for any type of occasion. Also, it contains suggestions for both formal and informal entertaining, indoor and outdoor meals, brunches, late night suppers, and family lunches as well as coffee and tea parties, wedding and christening buffets and children's parties. Each menu comes with a thorough plan for each meal - from detailed recipes for each course to drinks and wine suggestions, freezing and microwave hints, cook's hints and a failsafe countdown to the event."

The book is divided into five sections: Colour Recipe File, Introduction, The Menus, Basic Recipes, and Special Index.

Colour Recipe

The 'Colour Recipe File' contains a list of recipes that will be delved in the book, in form of colourful photographs. Each photograph is accompanied by the name of the recipe, and the page where it's located in the book.

The recipes are grouped under:

a) Soup and Starters

b) Meat

c) Poultry and Game

d) Fish and Shellfish

e) Vegetarian and Vegetable Accompaniments

f) Salads

g) Pulses and Grains

Scroll to Continue

h) Desserts

I) Sweet Baking

j) Savoury Baking

k) Drinks and Canapes




In the Introduction section, you're guided on:

  1. Determining the type of party you'd like to host
  2. Whether you need extra help in preparation of the party, how many guests will attend, and a list of things you'll need for the party.
  3. The Menu: A list of dishes you'd want to serve, reading through the recipes, planning when and what time to cook each of them, making a shopping list, the equipment you'll need, and how much to cook.
  4. After-dinner Coffee: The types of coffee that suitable after dinner, how to make coffee and serve it.
  5. Setting the Scene: The atmosphere of the party should make a guest feel welcomed, and should make them relaxed to be in the party.
  6. Drinks
  7. Matching Food and Wine

Menu are provided under the different types of sub-parties in each party provided in the Table of Contents. The parties range from the type of party or occasion, season, and time of day. The general parties listed are:

a) Brunch Parties

b) Lunch Parties

c) Dinner Parties

d) Supper Parties

e) Tea and Coffee Parties

f) Drinks Parties

g) Barbecues

h) Annual Celebrations

i) Buffets

Basic Recipe

It contains more than 150 recipes falling under:

a) Soups and Starters

b) Meat Main Course Dishes

c) Poultry and Game Dishes

d) Fish and Shellfish

e) Vegetarian Main Courses

f) Salad and Vegetable Accompaniments

g) Puddings

h) Afternoon Tea

i) Cakes

j) Buffet Dishes

k) Buffet Puddings

l) Drinks and Canapes

Special Index

The recipe included in this section are for those who want to maintain their weight, or are following a specific dietary plan.


It contains the list of recipes detailed in the book, and on which page you can find them.

My Take

I was mostly drawn to particular dishes based on their colourful photographs, and noting the requirement for preparing those dishes.

Recipes varied from the simple to the complex ensuring that if one isn't able to prepare a certain dish, they can opt for another one.

The recipes have been detailed in a simple English language which makes it easier to follow through the recipes. Also, the recipes are provided depending on the occasion, and time of day, assisting someone to prepare a menu based on the type of party, and what time it'll take place.

Colourful photographs range from medium sized, to a quarter-size, and some pages taking a full-length photograph. They make the book look attractive, and allures a reader to dive into the book, and learn how to make dishes based on an occasion.

Finally, I was impressed by the book in providing a guide to an individual, whether a novice or experienced cook, on how to plan for a party, and things to keep in mind when preparing the party.

Favourite Dishes from the Book

One of the favourite dishes I learned from the book is 'Chicken with Ginger.' It's easier to prepare the dish, and it doesn't take a lot of time to get it done. An easy recipe for someone, like me, who lacks exceptional cooking skills to prepare a delicious meal.

My other favourite dishes from the book are: Potatoes with Roast Garlic, Herb-glazed Tomatoes, Pork Tenderloin with Orange and Ginger, and Seafood Pilaki, Sausage and Bacon Oatcakes, and Spiced Kidney with Mushrooms to name a few.

Related Articles