Work Title: Happy Holidays from the Diva of Do-Ahead: A Year of Feasts to Celebrate with Family and Friends
Work Author(s): Diane Phillips
Harvard Common Press
16 color photographs, 320 pages, Hardcover $26.95, Softcover $14.95, 1-55832-321-X
Reviewer: Frances O. Thomas
Does anyone really plan a Memorial Day picnic six weeks ahead? The author, the self-proclaimed "Diva of Do-Ahead," does, and says that her foresight helps overcome the "food anxiety" associated with last-minute preparations.
Phillips teaches cooking classes, and once cooked fifty-two demo turkeys plus her own prior to Thanksgiving. She is also the author of Perfect Party Food, nominated for a James Beard Award.
Menus and tips for twelve holidays are arranged in this book, in calendar order. Phillips offers everything from New Year's Eve cocktails for twenty to a Valentine's dinner for two. Along with the recipes, she gives suggestions on what music is appropriate and what centerpiece would be most effective.
The recipes themselves cover plenty of ground. Foods for breakfast Denver Omelet Casserole), lunch Tuna Nicoise Sandwich), and dinner Roasted Brisket with Apricots and Plums); cocktails Limonata alla Lambrusco), and desserts Peaches-and-Cream Grand Marnier Bread Pudding with Raspberry Sauce) are all included. Ingredients are not exotic, nor are preparations arduous. Additional "diva wisdom" is scattered throughout. For example, at the end of her recipe for Fiesta Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting, Phillips advises: "For cooked...