I have long been of the believe that when it comes to entertaining, people break down into just two groups. There are the dinner party people and potluck people. The dinner party folk like to have a certain amount of control over the menu and flow of the evening, whereas potluck people are fully content to put out a stack of plates and just see what happens.
However, with her new book, Handmade Gatherings, Ashley English offers up a middle way. With 16 seasonal gatherings, including recipes and crafts, these festive events give the dinner party people some structure while encouraging them to involve their guests in the process. For the potluck people among us, the book serves as encouragement to up the game ever so slightly.
Ashley opens the book with a little peek into her own entertaining history and then offers some insight about how to communicate with your guests, how to pick a location, and how to plan so that no one goes hungry (always have a back-up plan!). She also offers useful instruction on how to be a good guest, including a most helpful reminder to bring a serving utensil with your dish.
Because the parties are seasonally grounded, you’ll find things like egg-centric events, canning afternoons, ice cream socials, and even cookie swaps. The recipes, activities, and crafts are delicious, engaging, and fun (and manage never to cross the line into overly cutesy territory).
What I find so nice about this book is that it is written so that every reader can take what they need from it. Some folks will recreate Ashley’s parties down to the very last dish, while others will use it for the inspiration it has to offer. I do like an entertaining book that adapts to the reader.
Thanks to Ashley and the team at Roost Books, I have one copy of Handmade Gatherings to give away. Here’s how to enter!
- Leave a comment on this post and share a tale of a favorite party or potluck
- Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 12, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 13, 2014
- Giveaway open to United States residents only.
- One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review and photography purposes. All opinions remain entirely my own.