Play Host: How to Flatter the Food

Remember this: when it comes to food (and only food), it’s all about appearances. That’s right – prepare a clean, crisp, stylishly set table or buffet, and your guests will never suspect your pre-made main course. Note: This doesn’t mean you need expensive dishes.

“It’s not about spending a lot of money,” writes Susan Spungen in What’s a Hostess to Do? “More expensive platters don’t guarantee the the food will look beautiful. Sure, you might invest in some special pieces, like a silver bowl or fancy glassware, but all that matters is that the food look enticing and inviting, which can be achieved with even the humblest serving pieces.”


Susan suggests putting bread in a basket lined with an heirloom napkin and mixing flea-market finds with your fancier pieces. “Your platters don’t have to match one another, either. In fact, using mismatched china can be quite charming. If it looks great to you, try it out, and if it’s not working, keep experimenting.”

Excerpted from What’s a Hostess to Do? by Susan Spungen (Artisan Books). Copyright 2013.

For more entertaining advice, grab a copy of What’s a Hostess to Do? Then check out our Sunday Supper: Cozy Evenings at Home Boutique, opening Sunday, November 10, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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Susan Spungen is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer, editor, and author. Most recently, she was the culinary consultant and food stylist on the feature films Labor Day (a Fall 2013 movie directed by Jason Reitman), Julie & JuliaIt’s Complicated, and Eat, Pray, Love. She is the author of Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook and co-author of the best-selling Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook. Her latest book, What’s a Hostess to Do?, published by Artisan Books, is out now.


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