Sophistication with a Helping of Humor - The Esquire Party Book

While packing up my cook books, I ran across a copy of the Esquire Party Book. Originally published in 1935, it's the lesser known companion to the popular Esquire's Handbook for Hosts.
My edition is from 1965 and is replete with illustrations by the legendary Seymour Chwast. The art direction - also by Chwast - is a humorous tour de force that draws you in with its charm and irreverence.

The content is equally as diverting. It's chock full of great information on entertaining from sun-up to sun-down, including drinks, recipes, party games, decor, even music and wardrobe suggestions!

The recipes tend toward the haute side, with entries like Crown Roast of Lamb, Artichoke Leaves with Roquefort Dip and Shrimp Viennoise En Casserole. Not everything is complicated, though. There are simple recipes for things like Cocoanut Chips and Olives in Bacon.

They're all organized into menus for parties that have whimsical themes like "On a Polynesian Beach" and "For Old School Ties".

Here's their recipe for stuffed pineapple:

2 medium sized pineapples
1 box strawberries
1/2 lb seedless grapes
1 cantaloupe - cut into cubes or balls
1 honeydew melon - cut likewise
1 lb pitted black cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup liquor - curacao, triple sec, brandy, fruit brandy, rum, white wine, port - what ever your liquor cabinet is willing to donate

Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, being careful to leave each half of the green tuft of leaves attached. (A serrated knife does the job well.) With a grapefruit knife, remove the fruit from the skin, leaving a thin shell (1/2" thick). Remove the eyes and the core from the fruit and cube it. Mix the pineapple with the other fruits (which have been washed, sliced, and otherwise prepared), add the sugar and the liquor and stir gently. Pile back into the four pineapple halves and refrigerate until dessert time. Serve with pre-scooped balls of lime ice on top. You can use any other fruits you have on hand that marry well with pineapple, but be sure to add lemon juice or ACM to fruits that darken upon waiting: apricots, peaches, apples or bananas.

It sounds like a delightful dessert for summer entertaining, doesn't it? If you like entertaining with a sophisticated flavor to it, I suggest finding a copy of Esquire's Party Book. They're available on sites like Amazon and eBay.