Easy Entertaining for Beginners

You Can Throw a Fabulous Party, from Holiday Fiesta to a Romantic Evening for Two

Non-Fiction - Home/Crafts
172 Pages
Reviewed on 03/22/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Easy Entertaining for Beginners is one of those books that everyone can use. The inexperienced host will appreciate the detailed steps to preparing the meal and the menu which pairs foods that go together. The experienced entertainer will appreciate the great recipes and the way Mendez simplifies the planning stage.

The color photos are fantastic. Too many cookbooks leave out the photos or use poor quality ones. The cover of this book has candles, shrimp, and margaritas. The colors are bright.

I must begin this review though by stating that I live in a small, rural town. The county is dry, and most people would not consider serving alcoholic beverages in their home. My first thought was-- why so much alcohol? However, moving on to the food the recipes in chapter 3 sounds delicious, but when serving in-laws, I prefer to keep it simple.

Chapter 4 was my favorite. Tea with friends is always fun. The recipes are wonderful. I could not wait to try several. All were easy and delicious. I refuse to allow my girls to look at the chapter on Mother’s Day Brunch. I am afraid they would try it, and I hate fish! Each chapter includes a menu and a systematic checklist. I really like the checklist. Patricia Mendez includes useful items to have on hand and an index. Overall, I like this cookbook. There are several recipes that I have not tried yet that are tempting my taste buds.

Tracy Winters

There are a number of things I like about this book:

* The checklist of preparations that tell you when to do what.

* It is a very attractive book with a user-friendly format.

* The color section is great. It is always nice to know what a recipe should look like when it is prepared.

* The tips for successful hosting and mistakes to avoid are really helpful whether you are a new cook, or an experienced host or hostess.

* I really like this complete guide to 13 delicious menus.

This is welcome guide to cooking and entertaining.

MD Arrata

I finally broke down and bought a book to help me with my cocktail parties. I wanted to do just a little more than offer Cosco food platters at my get-togethers. Patricia's book has opened my eyes to to the true meaing of entertaining. My husband and I hosted our first "real" party and it was so easy to plan and prepare for and it was way more fun than anything we've done in the past. I'm on my way to true entertaining and can't wait for our next party. The recipies in this book were super easy and delicious that everyone thought I had it catered. I can't wait to give this as a gift for my girlfriend's upcoming bridal shower. Thanks for writing this book!

Joy Delgado

The title says exactly what this cookbook is all about. Easy Entertaining for Beginners. In the Table of Contents you will find menus like "My First Cocktail Party" and "Family Fiesta". The section `About this book' gently encourages you to take the first step into the world of entertaining and melts away any fears you might have. In the section `Getting started' you will find common sense approaches to planning and preparing by pacing yourself. In the center of the book there are beautiful color pictures of a number of the dishes to temp you with.

The layout of this cookbook is very well thought out. Each chapter contains the following: menu, recipes, a step by step checklist (this walks you through what to do starting up to three days before the event all the way up to the guests arrival), optional shortcuts, party etiquette, mistakes to avoid and tips to ensure success. Some even give you drink and music suggestions.

This book is a good addition to any cooks collection. If you are a beginner, this book will go a long way in helping you become a fabulous host/hostess.


Patricia Mendez has created a wonderful primer for the novice entertainer in her book, "Easy Entertaining for Beginners." Mendez offers 13 tasty party menu ideas complete with beverage and music selections.

Chapter titles include "My First Cocktail Party," "Romantic Dinner for Two," "Dinner for the In-Laws," "Girlfriends' Tea," Mother's Day Brunch," "Family Fiesta," "Fourth of July Bash," "Two Themed Children's Birthday Parties," "Dinner Party with Close Friends," "Guys' Night Out," "My First Thanksgiving," and "Christmas Season Social."

My favorite menu items include Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts on Mini-Croissants (from the Girlfriends' Tea menu), Carne Asada (from the Family Fiesta menu) and Cheddar Hash Brown Gratin (from the Christmas Season Social menu).

Mendez's dessert and beverage offerings are fantastic and include Kahlua Fudge Brownie Pie, Cointreau Chocolate Truffles and Strawberries, Hurricanes, Cosmopolitans, Guava Mimosas, Pomegranate Sparkling Punch, and more.

Mendez also offers practical advice and etiquette tips for each celebration. She puts the reader at ease and makes them believe they'll be able to execute a fun party. And for people like me who lack organization skills, she has even included a checklist for each party that includes a timeline of when to do what -- I love that!

"Easy Entertaining for Beginners" has won the following awards: 2009 Silver Recipient Mom's Choice Award, 2008 National Best Books Finalist, First Place cooking category: 2008 Reader Views Literary Awards, and 2009 Indie Excellence Finalist.

I highly recommend this book for the novice, and not so novice, entertainer.

Kevin M Drabczyk

Easy Entertaining for Beginners: You can throw a fabulous party, from a holiday fiesta to a romantic evening for two by Patricia Mendez
Are you a busy mom, hard working career women, young adult just moving into your own home? Are you an experienced cook, hostess and entertainer or do you hate to cook and have no idea how to throw a party? This book can help you and anyone who wants to throw a quick, easy, but fabulous party.
Containing 13 complete menus this is much more that just a cookbook. Each chapter includes the information for one event some of which include: My First Cocktail Party, Romantic Dinner for Two, Girlfriend's Tea, Guy's Night Out, My First Thanksgiving and more.
Each chapter begins with a summary description of the event with ideas for things to do and decorating ideas. Next the menu it listed and followed by the recipes. A step by step checklist tells you what to do and when. At the end of each section is "optional shortcuts, party etiquette, mistakes to avoid and tips to ensure success. Many also include drink ideas and suggestions for music and full color photos.
I found this to be a wonderful and useful book. The menus are simple to prepare and don't use alot of special ingredients but they are all elegant and impressive. As a person who doesn't really enjoy cooking and has four children I always want to host wonderful events but am always so stressed I end not having any fun. The check lists in this book lead me through it all step by step. I feel confident I can actually do this.
This is a well written and organized book with lots of helpful hints and thoughts. It's like learning to cook and entertain from your mom or best friend. For my Anniversary coming up I plan to use the Romantic Dinner for Two menu.
I recommend this book for anyone who wants to entertain but lacks confidence and this would be a great gift for a new bride or a young person just setting up their own home.

B. Kopulsky

"Easy Entertaining For Beginners" has motivated me to start cooking for my wife,friends and family. Special occasions accompanying the recipes, like kids' birthday party, tea party, dinner with the in-laws, guys sports night, help me to calendar dates and prepare in advance. I'm looking forward to showing off my new found skills to everyone!

Colleen A. Hinz

It is about time a well written "Easy Entertaining"cookbook is available!!
I am so impressed with the "Menus at a Glance" section of Patricia Mendez's "Easy Entertaining for Beginners book. The menues are well organized and "Nervous Entertainer"friendly.
TRY the tasty Shrimp Ceviche with Tostaditos-A BIG HIT and beautifully arranged for guests! The "Romantic Dinner for Two" was a great hit on Valentine's day! The Coconut Salmon with Pineapple Salsa was easy to make and smelt great in my kitchen. The salmon and salsa mix is PERFECT!
WELL DONE Patricia!!!Thanks for the "cook friendly" readable font pages and the flexable bond cookbook. It works well in a messy kitchen with a nervous cook!
Colleen Hinz

S. Brown

This is a wonderful book full of recipes and entertaining ideas. Whether you've never entertained or you've been hosting parties for 30 years, you will find something useful in this book! The recipes are great! Very elegant and easy recipes that are not complicated to make....something I am always looking for. I plan on using this book as wedding gifts. I think it will come in very handy for newlywed couples!

I look forward to seeing more books from Patricia in the future!

Theresa Diulus

I am not new to entertaining, but I am a cookbook collector and avid cook. I am always on the lookout for great books to give to others to encourage them to know how fun and easy entertaining can be - this book accomplishes that BETTER than any book I've ever come across! Each chapter's theme includes a preface, menus, checklists, tips and even etiquette - it's much more thorough than any book I've ever seen. Even if you are a seasoned entertainer, it's got great ideas all laid out for you and if you are new to entertaining it lives up to it's title of "Easy Entertaining." For our benefit, Patricia Mendez's experience and expertise seem to be wonderfully encapsulated in this easy to follow and thorough book. As an added bonus, look in the book for the address of the author's website for amazing additional information as well!

Stephanie Vozza

I love to entertain, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm stuck in a rut. Patricia Mendez's book is the perfect book for every host ... from the beginner who doesn't know what to do to the person who wants to move beyond the usual appetizers. What I love most is the checklist for each theme (I'm a slave to lists), the optional shortcuts (such as picking up some store made items) and the mistakes to avoid. Great themes will leave your guests thinking you're a genius.

Pat W. Krk

This book is exactly what it claims to be. A new bride minus any experience in the kitchen could put together a Thanksgiving dinner that her husband would brag about for months. Patricia covers every detail. At one point, though she points out that it probably goes without saying, she says the cook should wash her hands. She includes complete menus, recipes, and shopping lists. She lists information on what to make ahead and how much in advance you should start what needs to be made on the day of the party.

The beginning chapter talks about setting, budget and other details. There is a party for dinner with the inlaws. She describes a Fourth of July Bash. She puts together a men's party with chicken wings, girls lunch, etc.. The food ranges from Gourmet to down-home, depending on the group. Though most of the food is home-cooked, Patricia will also use good ready-made dishes as well, such as mini-deserts.

This would be a perfect wedding gift or gift to a daughter or son getting an apartment for the first time. I am well past the new bride stage and I plan to take the Apple-Pecan dressing to my next church potluck. Why wait until Christmas?

Michael Monji

Wow!!! Patricia Mendez's "EASY ENTERTAINING FOR BEGINNERS" is the best book I have ever read on entertaining. On a scale of 1-5, it is a 10. If you plan to do any entertaining this is a must book for you. Why make all the mistakes, just buy this book. Patricia will guide you step by step so your party will be one to remember. Great job Patricia.

C. O'Connell

Thanks to Patricia Mendez and her new book, Easy Entertaining for Beginners, for my 4th of July gathering which caused my guests to "ahhhh!" and me to enjoy a relaxing day. The meal combined traditional favorites - grilled hamburgers, potato salad, fruit salad and cobbler for dessert. However, with very tiny tweaks (just a few additional food items from the local grocery!), the meal turned memorable. For example, the hamburger bar featured my friends' favorite toppings - bacon, mushrooms and avocado. The potato salad had a bit of dill, rice vinegar and dijon added. Thankfully, the book also included a few suggestions for easy décorations and suggestions for guest activities throughout the afternoon. Best of all, not only was the event easy to pull together, there was almost no clean-up and absolutely no leftovers.

Next, I have my eye on the book's Thanksgiving menu - and, yes, I may even try my hand at the made from scratch gravy...it does look doable! And, then, there's the Christmas social, plus another 10 other themed events......