Cookbook Profile

The $50 Dollar Dinner Party

26 Dinner Parties That Won't
Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule

By Sally Sampson


The $50 Dollar Dinner Party You adore cooking and love to invite friends for fine dining and heady conversation. But, you also work, have kids, and your time is as limited as your budget. No problem. Although hosting a dinner party may seem like a daunting task, Sally Sampson makes the whole affair as easy as 1-2-3 in her new book, The $50 Dollar Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won't Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule. Sampson realizes that most of us don't have the time, energy or money to host elaborate, time-consuming social affairs. The $50 Dollar Dinner Party presents a solution: 26 delicious, easy-to-prepare dinner menus for six, all for under $50 (not including beverages).

But skimping on price does not mean skimping on taste. The $50 Dollar Dinner Party contains delectable dishes, sure to please the most sophisticated palate. The 26 mouth-watering menus are diverse, ranging from innovative international cuisine found in Menu One: Moroccan Chicken, Couscous with Currants and Sesame Seeds, Red Onion and Orange Salad, and Chocolate Date Nut Bars; to eclectic combinations included in Menu Sixteen: Chilled Corn Soup with Tomatoes, Red Peppers and Cilantro, Spice Rubbed Catfish, Polenta Triangles, Grilled Pineapple and Avocado Salad, and Six Layer bars with Chocolate, Pecans and Coconut; to traditional American fare suggested in Menu Eighteen: Grilled Marinated Flank Steak, Potato Cake with Garlic and Olive Oil, Salad of Arugula, Avocado and Mango and Cheesecake with Fresh Raspberries. Sampson also has recipes for sauces, dips, breads and cookies to offer company before and after dinner.

The menus look too good to be simple, but Sampson reassures us in her introduction, " should not be intimidated by any of the recipes in these pages because they were created with the demands and constraints of real life in mind." Throughout the book, there are tips about timing, preparation, appropriate kitchen tools to use and where to shop, as well as shortcuts and substitutions for ingredients when you're in a time jam. What are some other ways to keep costs down? Sampson says, "One of the most important things that anyone can do to make entertaining effortless is to have a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer." All ingredients are available for reasonable prices at well-stocked supermarkets or in specialty and ethnic food stores.

Along with creative culinary ideas, you can find some practical personal advice about playing hostess in The $50 Dollar Dinner Party --Sampson stresses the importance of being a relaxed host at your party. She warns against inviting anyone you're trying to impress so that your ego is not on the line if something goes wrong. Above all, she reminds you that dinner parties are about more than showing off your culinary skill. Sampson says, "You should cook because you love to and entertain because you want to be with your friends. After all, who are you trying to impress?"

The $50 Dollar Dinner Party transforms hosting a dinner party from an overwhelming ordeal into a pleasurable evening with friends. With this book, you can prepare and serve extraordinary food without spending exceptional amounts of time and money.

Sally Sampson is the co-author of The Olives Table and The Figs Table and author of Recipes from the Night Kitchen, Chic Simple Cooking, and several other books. She has contributed articles to Bon Appetit and other publications and writes for The Boston Globe and The Boston Phoenix. She lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.


The $50 Dollar Dinner Party
By Sally Sampson
Fireside Books
Paperback, $14.00
ISBN 0-684-842289
Information provided by the publisher.


The $50 Dollar Dinner Party

Recipes: Menu Six


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This page created January 1999