The Chocolate Cult: World Party Day

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

World Party Day

Today is World Party Day according to this website, one of many that I consult for all of our Chocolate on The Calendar articles. In honor of that, Your Chocolate Priestess want to share a book that looks at party planning for holidays, special events, or just a gettogether that you want to get a bit fancy for. I'm not much for fancy, fancy parties aren't something that I grew up with and honestly we don't tend to circulate among the upper crust of any location where I've lived so fancy parties were more likely a work thing than a casual thing. This book is about non-work parties. The one thing that many folks do not appreciate about parties is the amount of planning you can and arguably should do if you are hosting one. This book claims to offer advice on the planning more than any other aspect. InStyle Parties: The Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining All Year Round was sent to me by  the Amazon Vine Program for free in exchange for a review on Amazon; this article on The Chocolate Cult will be a surprise to the folks there and to the Oxmoor House publishing company. No other form of compensation was received for this fair and honest article.

There 15 examples of parties that you could throw in this book. These are broken down into 4 types of parties: Dinner Parties, Holiday Parties, Occasions and Theme Parties, and Summer Parties. In terms of the types of parties, I have hosted Dinner, Holiday, and Occasions particularly birthday parties. With my allergies and the lack of what I considered to be a large enough prepared outdoor space, we aren't much for summer parties around my house.

The basics of planning in this book are on point. In a year, I plan and host at least four parties. I follow much of the planning laid out in the first chapter "The Basics" though I learned these through experience and planning my wedding 25+ years back. The one thing that is not tackled in the "The Basics" is how do you get people to respond -- it is so annoying when people refuse to say "no" and instead simply ignore an invitation. That applies to all forms of invitations ranging from paper to electronic to telephone and even issued face-to-face. It seems like people haven't been taught basic manners and that isn't addressed in this book when it really needs to be beyond "making it interesting" -- obviously we think it is interesting or we wouldn't be hosting in the first place.

For the 4 types of parties are modeled the basics of what you need to consider and the timing of preparations are important to repeat particularly if you have not thrown parties other than spur of the moment ones. Food and wine, seating, setting, number of guests, those are comment enough aspects of parties that most of you should know them. I was very pleased to see two other aspects of parties addressed that I routinely think about and incorporate into my parties -- "The Activity" and "The Take-Home". Sometimes I have both an activity that we can enjoy at the party as well as something for my guests to take with them but this guide suggests only one.

The only disappointments in the book was a focus on fancy supplies and foods versus the types of food that most Americans can afford and have easy access to. Honestly anyone can throw a party (which the book claims in the introduction) yet the focus is on more expensive types of foods or foods that require more preparation than many of us may have available. Okay, I have a lot of available time as an author and blogger who works out of her home, but still some of these seem like a lot of time to spend for most parties that my family would host.

Those additional aspects I praised earlier -- "The Activity" and "The Take-Home" had two typos where an activity is clearly a take-home ("Fresh Summer Party") and where the take-home is really an activity ("Midsummer Mediterranean Fete"). That's a mix-up that an editor really should have caught but if you can figure that these are still useful ideas.

But what about the Chocolate? There are many recipes in this book and these are labeled in the "Recipe Index" under when what category of food they are -- Appetizers, Desserts, Drinks, Main Dishes, Salads, Sandwiches, Side Dishes, and Soup. The only category with any cocoa or chocolate was Desserts and of 15 recipes 5 included chocolate. That's a disappointingly small number for us on The Chocolate Cult but the book isn't focused on our Sacrament Substance.

Remember to check out this book and if you do buy it using our links, you'll be giving money back to The Chocolate Cult. If we ever get enough money there are several chocolate places I'd love to visit and share with you all.

Here's my question to all of you reading this: What would your World Party Day event look like?

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