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I have these grand dreams of being this fabulous entertainer. I would throw the best parties. The parties that people would talk about for a long time after the party was over and done with. But…in reality, I am far from an entertainer. I don’t entertain for several reasons, but the main reason is that I am intimidated by it. Intimidated by the preparations, intimidated by the actual “entertaining” part of it. But I think I’ve put too much pressure on myself, and too much thought into it. Because after reading through Sandy Coughlin’s book – The Reluctant Entertainer – I have realized that entertaining is not as intimidating as I thought it was!

This month’s cookbook was a little different than the cookbooks I have reviewed in the past. In fact, it’s not even technically a cookbook. It’s a book about entertaining, but it has recipes in it. I’m really going to be reviewing the recipe aspect of the book, but this is so much more than recipes!

Prep Times and Total Recipe Times Listed: no
These recipes are written more like what you would write on a note card as your mom is telling you a family recipe. So no times listed!

Number of Photos: few
There are a few photos on the recipes that are peppered through the book, but most of the recipes are listed in the back of the book where there are no photos. You really can’t fault this book for that, though – because it’s not really a cookbook!

Difficulty Level of Recipes: easy
Anyone could cook out of this book. There are no complicated recipes here!

Availability of Ingredients: easy
Again, all ingredients that are easy to come by.

Here’s what I made!




Best Strawberry Bread – 8.5 out of 10







Sweet Home Spaghetti – 9 out of 10







Baked Pear Vanilla French Toast – 8.5 out of 10







Cousin Reggie’s Marinade – 8.5 out of 10




Overall Rating: 8.625 out of 10

Ok, so the greatest thing that I learned from this book is that entertaining does not need to be complicated. These were some of the most simple recipes that I’ve done, but they were all so good. I think that is one reason I don’t ever entertain – because I think that I have to go all out on everything, but this book proves that simple is best. The recipes are all ones that are great for crowds, both easy to prepare and crowd pleasers. I’m looking forward to trying more from this cookbook – especially more of the breakfast recipes!!



For June, I get to cook more Southern food! It seems like a lot of the cookbook reviews I’ve been doing lately have been for Southern food. I’m not complaining!! June’s book – Southern Plate – is one that I’ve been hearing a lot about, and I’m already having a hard time narrowing down which recipes to try. Look for some great Southern treats next month!

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8 Responses to May Cookbook of the Month Review | The Reluctant Entertainer

  1. I love to entertain! I love creating the menu and the decorating and all the fun. Right now my place is too small to host many get togethers but I am moving to a bigger house and that is one of the things I am excited about… entertaining. I will defiantly check this book out!

  2. Sandy @ RE says:

    Thanks, girl. It was fun being a part of your life and blog in May! I love Christy, I just met her 2 weekends ago. She’s the real deal. You’ll love Southern Plate! xo

  3. Joanne says:

    I’m always a bit afraid to entertain also! The fact that I have a two-by-nothing apartment also doesn’t help. Maybe I should check out this book!

  4. Katrina says:

    This book looks great! Thanks for the review 🙂

  5. Kirstin says:

    I love Sandy’s book and blog. How fun what you’re doing…I’m going to bookmark your blog, or subscribe, so I can keep coming back!!

    I love having people over and typically have certain dishes that I’m so comfortable making that it’s no stress..they’re easy, quick and inexpensive. I also like to delegate so I’m not doing it all.

    Yesterday we had company over (a newlywed couple) and made homemade pizzas. I pre-made the dough ahead of time and cooked the chicken. We split the rest of the ingredients and when our guests arrived, she and I put the pizzas together and popped them in the oven.

  6. Alli says:

    I know what you mean about the fear of entertaining. One thing I have done recently is when I am invited somewhere I make sure to stay present in the event. I look at the details and make sure to comment to the host. I truly enjoy the event and appreciate all the hard work that went into it. I still totally stress but, I want to entertain. I could not sleep last week thinking about my small dinner party over the weekend. It ended up being a blast and I actually let go of some small details and I don’t think they were even missed. Looking forward to your next review. You rock.

  7. Nell says:

    I love that you are cooking through cookbooks. That is such a good way to try new things and not just pick and choose.

    I agree that I always go way over the top for entertaining. Mostly with desserts, but I think when you really enjoy cooking it just happens! 🙂

  8. Love the fresh look of your website — so beautiful! Looks like you chose some great recipes to sample and share. The strawberry bread sounds wonderful. I got an autographed copy of Southern Plate while in Atlanta and will be interested in what you think…

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