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Celebrate! [Paperback]

Sheila Lukins

RRP: 14.99
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Book Description

27 Feb 2004
Filled with forty-six festive menus that are perfect for a variety of holidays or special occasions, a new cookbook by the author of The Silver Palate Cookbook includes 350 delicious, foolproof recipes that include such dishes as Maple Ginger Turkey with Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing, Orange Sorbet.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reason to Throw a Party 8 April 2004
By rodboomboom - Published on Amazon.com
This is simply creative, well done and inspirational. From the unique concept to the exciting layout to the fab recipes, this is one to have and use and celebrate and enjoy.
The author is a cookbook all-star, having done The Silver Palate series and New Basics and several of her own. She branches out now with this one which provides a whole thematic culinary event including recipes, music, wine suggestions, serving and decorating ideas. All centered around great food.
There are 43 themed events with 350 recipes all showing color photos organized into two main sections: A Year of Celebrations, with a dozen of the more classic events e.g. New Year, Seder, Mother's Day, etc., and the second: Celebrating Our Lives, bridal shower, graduation, cuisine & culture outings, e.g. India, morocco; and ingredient feasts such as a blueberry breakfast. There are also adequate sources, bibliography, conversion tables and a nice index. The servings are hefty, sometimes for 24, 8, 2, 16. Buffets, pool party, sit down dining room, beach, etc. venues well covered as well.
While so many could be singled out to inspire you to add this to your collection, let me tempt you with two samplings: A Toast To New Year for 8, with a Celebration Coktail ( Grand Marniew and champagne and more), Sparkling Crab Salad, Frisee Folie with Tangerine Vinaigrette, Mahogany Squabs, Fancy New Year's Pilaf, Carrot-Ginger Whip, Beet and Apple Whip, Frozen Lime Souffle, Chocolate Truffles. All of this decked out in an ambience of Old Painted Hookahs holding apricot-hued roses, with votive candles amid floating white orchids, set upon table of paisly fabriic, with pink linen napkins set off with gold wire-ribbon ties. Suggested music: Rimsky--Korsakov's Scheherazade or John Coltrane's My Favorite Things.
Anytime Sunday Brunch for 8 with Leek Frittata, Roasted Tomatoes and Onions, Rustic Chicken Salad, Tomatoes a la Tapenade, Blackberry Sorbet, and Rich Pecan Squares.
As she suggests, one doesn't have to do all the recipes, and mix and matching of them is allowable and encouraged. She has a good idea too, that of trying a more difficult recipe ahead of time as a dish to gain confidence before preparing as part of a bigger spread.
This is lush, well thought out and executed and a marvelous resource for entertaining, whether one follows it to a tee, some of it, and use for inspiration to dream up your own. This is wo well done and has something everyone can find exactly what you're into. Explore, dine and wine, bon appetit.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously Fun Book for Cooking Up Entertaining Menus 13 Feb 2004
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
This book by veteran cookbook author Sheila Lukins is an excellent cookbook for the home cook who likes to cook and to entertain, but who is not a foodie who does not want to spend a lot of time pulling recipes from books by celebrity authors or the `Joy of Cooking'. The book is also superior to other recent books written to the same theme such as `Around the Table' by Ellen Wright.
There is a great divide between books written for foodies and culinary professionals and books written for everyone else who needs to prepare food and simply needs some straightforward guidance in how to go about the work in the kitchen. The latter type of book generally specializes in cooking fast, cooking thin, or cooking to other special purpose. Lukins' book covers entertaining menus and recipes in an exceptionally thorough treatment of 43 different events. To my lights, she has done a superb job of selecting recipes, which are appropriate to the occasion. I may miss the special paska bread at the Easter menus, especially since there are two different Easter menus, but I respect Lukins' decision as the book contains no recipes for bread, and the menus contain nothing, which is not made in the home.
While this book is not a foodie book, it succeeds far better than many other general audience cookbooks in selecting recipes, which are genuinely interesting to gourmets. The Salad Nicoise, for example uses freshly sautéed tuna rather than the traditional canned tuna. The chile recipe uses diced beef like most `competition grade recipes', not ground beef. The recipes for stock are reputable. Expert sources like Cooks Illustrated or Jeremiah Tower may prefer fewer vegetable ingredients or more chicken bones, but Lukins' recipes will give flavorful results without an excessive amount of trouble. The recipe for a standard pastry dough leaves out a few of the finer tips found in books dedicated to pastry, but here too, the recipe supplied will work. I do suspect one may be well served by going to a specialist for baking.
I tried my best to find a menu where an ingredient was clearly used out of season and I could not. Fresh corn was used in recipes slated for summer events, while frozen corn was used in recipes requiring fresh corn at Thanksgiving. Unlike foodie oriented authors, Sheila does not preach to us about using local, seasonal foods, but she is practicing that doctrine gently, without burdening us with the gospel according to Alice Waters. Lukins does, however, tip the hat to intellectual honesty by citing her expert sources. She has a Moroccan menu and, sure enough, she credits Paula Wolfert's authoritative book on Moroccan cuisine as a source.
Lukin's book is primarily about providing worthy recipes to people who want to have fun. Each menu includes an alcoholic beverage recommendation. I am no expert on this, but it makes perfect sense to me to include these recommendations in a book of entertaining menus. Leaving it out would have been a deficiency in the book. The book also includes recommendations for music appropriate to each occasion. While I pretend to know much more about music than I do about wine, I will not object to any of the recommendations except perhaps to the omission of Moussorsky's `Night on Bald Mountain' from the Halloween lineup. Anyone who recommends Duane Eddy as a listening option certainly has their heart in the right place.
The selection of recipes in each menu are appropriate and the recipes are serious. There are no second rate pot luck event recipes here from the back of Hamberger Helper boxes. I recommend this book over any other of books on the same subject. The paperback price for a book of this size and quality is doubly attractive.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Create a special occasion, just so you can use this cookbook 14 Jan 2005
By H. Grove (errantdreams) - Published on Amazon.com
This cookbook covers a nifty range of special occasions--much better than that in any other cookbook I've seen! It includes traditional holidays, non-traditional holidays, and things that aren't holidays at all (the "congratulations on a new job" menu, the "Saturday night with friends" menu, the "Springtime bridal shower" menu, a menu for a big family reunion, a birthday bash, a housewarming, a cozy dinner for two, and more).

Many of the dishes are traditional, or have been around for many years, but Ms. Lukins brings her own flair to them. She never gets too outrageous, but she's also never boring. I think she walks the perfect middle ground to ensure that this cookbook will appeal to as many people as possible, which is a tough thing to do!

What's most impressive to me, however, is how uniformly delicious and painless these recipes are. Every single one we've made has come out absolutely perfectly, without a hitch or confusion. Every single one has been completely delicious. The haroseth was fantastic, with its subtle blend of honey and a little bit of spicing. The Irish soda bread rolls beautifully contrasted the tang of buttermilk with the sweetness of raisins. The barbecue sauce is, quite literally, the best I've had, and the sesame noodles have a surprisingly complex and delightful flavor--the kind where with every bite you taste something new. The raspberry sauce, which we made to go with a cheesecake from another cookbook, was heavenly.

This is an outstanding cookbook, and I can't wait for an excuse to make more out of it. We're already planning which special occasion we'll take advantage of next!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVERY THING A PARTY PLANNING BOOK SHOULD BE! 20 May 2005
By A. A. Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
In one word...perfect! This book is great, every recipe I have made from it has been fabulous. (Try the coconut cream pie :)) And more importantly all the foods kind of meld together so each dish is distinct but not so diffrent as to not blend. This book has become my party reference! The parties are creative and go into details like flowers, recommended wines and music. And there are so many parties, from summer pool parties, a kentucky derby party, and big promotions to the standards like Christmas, and Easter! Buy this book you will NOT be disappointed!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lukins Authors Great Cookbooks! 31 Jan 2009
By S. Ostrowski - Published on Amazon.com
We have many cookbooks written by Sheila Lukins and love them all. CELEBRATE! isn't my favorite, but it's still a good one if you're looking for a menu for a special occasion. Her book THE NEW BASICS COOKBOOK is our kitchen bible. We'll continue to collect her cookbooks. They've made an enormous difference in our kitchen!
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