TABLE TALES takes you step-by-step, with tips on cookware, keeping recipes as “green” as possible, but more importantly how to do it well beforehand, leaving the barest “finishing touches” just prior to serving or earlier that day. Presented are 15 dinner parties, appetizers on to the finale. In addition to the do-ahead recipes this book is sprinkled with suggestions about hosting the perfect dinner party: from graciously handling early or late arrivals…unwanted gifts for the hosts…a wine glass spilled on the table…flower and candle decorations that don’t block eye contact. Ray Repp and Richard Alther, musician and novelist, entertain at frequent dinner parties in their homes in Vermont and Palm Springs, California. TABLE TALES begins each chapter with an amusing conversation–usually funny, a few sobering–that occur at their always vibrant gatherings. Their ideal is six to eight guests so that everyone has the chance to chat one-on-one, if desired, by dinner’s end. Usually there are fresh characters for folks to meet and to become possible friends. Ray is the master chef from a lifetime of serious cooking. Rich does the desserts, flowers and place assignments (generally to separate spouses or to ensure an engaging mix). When they throw a dinner party, they themselves have a blast because from the second people arrive everything has been done in advance! Does it take time? Are the recipes sometimes complicated? Yes, indeed to both. This is a cookbook for foodies who can spend an hour here and there, relax and not rush, and freeze enough for two, three or four future occasions. Or, prepare 20 or 30 individual Beef Wellingtons and keep them frozen for the elegant dinner party planned in one month or so. The menus are typically more interesting than the fare at even the best restaurants. Isn’t this why everyone loves when friends pamper guests with a dinner party? Unusual food, festive dress, lively talk, and no work! Incredible Canapes: choux puffs with avacado and goat cheese filling; mini-clafoutis with shrimp; mushroom duxelles in pastry shells… Savory First Courses: slices of rare tuna steak with Catalon caper sauce; sweet potato and ginger soup; spinach lasagna roll-ups… Eye-Popping Entrees: turkey breast roulades stuffed with cranberries and walnuts; individual seafood Wellingtons; tagine of spicy kefta… Unforgettable Desserts: fresh ginger layer cake with lime zest and Macadamia nut cream cheese frosting; six-layered buttermilk chocolate cake with raspberry puree and dark chocolate ganache; apple cheddar crumble pie… TABLE TALES is the perfect cookbook to help busy people plan fantastic dinner parties and, especially, to relish their own entertaining!