If you can use a little help with summer entertaining, these helpful, diverse publications should be tucked into your reference shelf.
"The Food Yellow Pages: The First Easy-to-Use Food, Wine and Restaurant Source Directory" by Linda Zimmerman and Susan Fine (paperback, 215 pages) probably will come in handy if you cook and entertain frequently. And I mean seriously. In fact, if you ever wanted to get into the food business but never had the guts, this odd directory might push you over the edge.
The authors, who also are the publishers of the directory, are themselves "foodies" who have worked in the business as well. Their flair for the exotic and unusual is strongly marked throughout the directory.
Onions to Newsletters
Looking for Walla Walla onions? A source is in the book. Need to write to the National Broiler Council? The address is in the Food Yellow Pages. Want to locate certified farmers' markets in Los Angeles? There is a list of them divided geographically. Want to subscribe to foodie newsletters? You'll get a good range of trade and consumer newsletters to choose from.
There are wineries listed by county, lists of bakeries (everything from ethnic to wholesale), caterers, trade commissions, associations and clubs for food and wine, hot-line phone numbers to help with your every entertaining need, among dozens of services that may lessen the pain or increase the pleasure of entertaining, depending on your perspective.
For a copy of the guide, send check for $7.95 plus 52 cents tax and $2 shipping and handling per copy, payable to the Food Yellow Pages, Box 461449, Los Angeles 90046. Information: (213) 852-0946 or (213) 653-7185.
"Complete Party and Entertaining Services Guide" by Peter Segal (Host Helpers: $4.95) gives 200 listings of complete, unusual party and entertaining services in Los Angeles, whether the theme is holiday, office party, birthday, fund-raiser, cocktail, wedding, dinner or other special event. For the guide, send a check for $4.95 to Laura Riordan, 1633 Westwood Blvd., Suite 110, West Los Angeles 90024. A free copy of the Southern California Wedding and Special Events Newsletter, also published by Host Helpers, is available by writing or calling (213) 478-8495.
Creating Battle Plans
Cooking for a crowd isn't easy, but Food & Wine food editor Susan Wyler's "Cooking for a Crowd" (Harmony Books: $19.95) definitely will help. You'll get plenty of ideas for creating battle plans for your important entertaining events and tips on presenting dishes beautifully--suggestions most people can use. Then you have the recipes for foolproof success: For a noon brunch for 16, for instance, Wyler suggests passion-fruit mimosas with cheese straws, a sour-cream-and-caviar dip served with endive spears and other raw vegetables, and liver mousse with toasted hazelnuts. Then come baked eggs with mushrooms; an avocado, strawberry and orange salad; gougeres (lovely choux- paste cheese puffs); grilled quail, and gratineed tomatoes. Marble sour-cream coffeecake is the sweet. Sound good? More importantly, can you handle it? You can if you follow Wyler's explicit instructions.