In her new book, Entertaining at Home (Rizzoli New York, 2019), hostess Ronda Carman offers a veritable cocktail buffet of entertaining inspiration. Recruiting a lively mix of fashionable friends, designers, architects, shop owners, and chefs to throw parties in their own homes using their own pieces and recipes, she has compiled a trove of ideas that feel road-tested and ready to use.
Bettie Bearden Pardee captures old-school elegance with a clam chowder meal in her Newport orangerie. Suzanne Kasler throws a French-inspired lunch on her Atlanta patio. Julia Reed, a name synonymous with Southern hospitality, hosts a spring fling in New Orleans. And iconic hostess Lynn Wyatt (looking fabulous in a striped caftan and statement necklace) throws a lively margarita lunch on her South Texas ranch.
Aside from the beautifully set tables and lists of recipes, hosts offer tidbits of advice that will send many a reader running for a notepad. Houston shop owner Ruth Davis explains how to “stay stocked” for impromptu gatherings; Kimberly Schlegel Whitman breaks down the anatomy of a proper cheese plate; and Amy Beth Cupp makes a convincing case for using good china every day. Ultimately the real reward in these pages is the inspiration to pick up the phone (or text) and invite folks over. Life is short. Entertain.
By Kirk Reed Forrester | Photography © Matthew Mead from Entertaining at Home: Inspirations from Celebrated Hosts by Ronda Carman (Rizzoli New York, 2019)