• Title: R.S.V.P.: Menus for Entertaining from People Who Really Know How
  • Author: Quentin Bacon, Nan Kempner
  • Released: 2000-11-07
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 0609604309
  • ISBN13: 978-0609604304
  • ASIN: 0609604309
Nan Kempner knows her parties. As part of the Park Avenue haut monde, she has entertained, and been entertained, by a heady mixture of the social and talented (and those who are both). In R.S.V.P. she introduces readers to more than two dozen of her favorite hosts, who provide menus and entertaining strategies for a range of choice events. These run the gamut from dockside breakfasts to candlelit dinners deluxe. The 120 or so recipes included produce elegant yet uncomplicated fare that should delight anyone's guests without taxing the cook. Glimpses into the homes (or in one case, the yacht) of the likes of Oscar and Annette de la Renta, designer Valentino Garavani, and artist Ross Bleckner, via words and pictures, entice the voyeur in us all, while graceful notes provide an idea of who the party givers are.

Divided into sections that feature lunches, informal dinners, buffets, and galas, the book offers, for example, the Corn and Feta Soufflé of Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, served at a light lunch, and the savory Mushroom Tart of vineyard patrons Carole and François Rochas, prepared for a "perfect" fall repast. Desserts aren't neglected and include the likes of Orange Floating Island and Fig Sorbet with "Queen of Sheba" Chocolate Cookies. A final section, "Me and More Friends," brings Kempner herself onstage with her recipe for beignet-like Pet de Nonnes, as well as offering formulas for Bill Blass's Sour Cream Soufflé and Nancy Reagan's Currant Cookies, among others. With 300 color photos, the large-format book reveals a world that readers can enjoy visiting, and includes dishes for their own R.S.V.P. occasions. --Arthur Boehm

From the Inside Flap What defines a truly great host? Is it the quality of her surroundings, her china and linens, the savory surprises at her table, the diversity of the people she gathers around her, or simply her ability to put guests at ease? As Nan Kempner shows in R.S.V.P., it is all this and much more.

New York hostess extraordinaire and inveterate guest of some of the world's most accomplished, Nan Kempner offers a tantalizing glimpse into the homes -- and entertaining philosophies -- of more than two dozen of her favorite hosts and hostesses. With twenty complete menus, R.S.V.P. divulges tried-and-true strategies for a large range of events, from a dockside breakfast to a gala sit-down dinner. Here is a casual city luncheon hosted by Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece; cocktails on the Grand Canal in Venice with Larry Lovett; Anne Bass's fall-inspired country menu; the raucous Texas-sized cookout served by Lynn Wyatt; and a full-scale boar hunt on the Loire Valley estate of Count Hubert and Countess Isabelle d'Ornano.

For each event, Nan recollects the mood at the table and the individual elements that made each gathering so exceptional. She has also convinced her friends to share their most closely guarded recipes, most of them simple to replicate and all certain to please even the most discerning partygoer. R.S.V.P. also gives an enticing tour of some of the world's most brilliant houses, with an insider's view of Oscar and Annette de la Renta's Santo Domingo villa; Ross Bleckner's art-filled New York City loft; and designer Valentino's sumptuously appointed yacht. Stunning color photographs showcase each house and vividly re-create these events.

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