I am a big fan of Amy Sedaris - specifically, of her book, "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence." I enjoy her wacky blend of practical entertaining advice (to make cocktails meatballs ahead of time, freeze them on a cookie sheet before putting them into a container so they won't adhere to each other), "funny but actually sort of practical" entertaining advice (fill your medicine cabinet with marbles before a party, because "nothing announces a nosey guest better than an avalanche of marbles hitting a porcelain sink") and "funny and hopefully-not-intended-to-be-serious advice, but GOOD, SWEET LORD I know someone who actually DOES this" (avoid overly detailed and personal introductions like, "This is Barbara, she can't have children").
If Amy isn't friends with Valerie Peterson, well, she should be.
Like the cupcake-obsessed Ms. Sedaris, Ms. Peterson is a serious baker (of sugar cookies - which makes me love her that much more, because I rank a good iced sugar cookie right up there with, and possibly even ahead of, a good cupcake). She has published at least two "Cookie Craft" books of which I am aware, but I haven't gotten around to purchasing either of those. I do have her cocktail recipe books, "Peterson's Happy Hour" and "Peterson's Holiday Helper," and I am particularly enamored with the latter.
Read this snippet from the book's Web site (click on it to enlarge, then hit the back button - or Blogger will, quite annoyingly, close on you), and you will understand why:
The recipes are interspersed with various awkward and ironic retro family photos, of the MikWright variety.
There are lots and lots of Christmas-inspired recipes, but the Thanksgiving ones (like the one above) are my favorites. Again, from the Web site:
Fly the skies in a friendlier fashion with Whatever Gets You Through the Woods, prepared with $10 of onboard liquor and other ingredients handily available from your cooperative flight attendant.
This is one of my fave pages in the book, because (1) it does, in fact, feature a cocktail made from tiny "airplane bottles" of liquor and that orange juice in a can that you only get from an airplane bar cart, and (2) it contains a list of suggestions of gifts that can easily be transported in carry-on luggage. One of the suggestions: "pouch of loose diamonds."
(Um, I would take me some of those.)
According to the Web site, Jen Lancaster (author of the totally hilarious "Bitter is the New Black") is a fan. Which makes me even more of a fan. We snarky girls like to stick together.
Check it out at http://www.petersonsholidayhelper.com/.