DEAR ABBY: I love cooking for my wife and friends. There are few things I find more pleasing than to put out a nice spread of food and watch people enjoy. I'm always on the lookout for more cookbooks, and you hold the key to my next big party.
I was reading through your archives and have seen many people asking about your cookbooklets. I'd love to get them. Can you print the ordering information again, so I can be sure I'm sending the right amount to the right place? Thanks! -- MAN IN THE KITCHEN IN NORTH LITTLE ROCK
DEAR MAN IN THE KITCHEN: I'm glad to oblige. I have been a compulsive cookbook collector for many years, so I can relate. (I'm sure you will be pleased when you see that my cookbooklets, while wide-ranging in content, take up little space on your bookshelf.)
Your idea of throwing a "Dear Abby Dinner Party" is a good one, and I have been told the recipes provide a fun, traditional eating adventure. All of them are simple, easy-to-read and delicious.
One reader described creating place cards for her guests decorated with hearts and flowers. The centerpiece was a "bouquet" of envelopes addressed to me. Another reader said she copied questions from my column, printed them out and, as a party game, asked her guests to supply the answers. (She said that after a few glasses of wine, some of the responses were hilarious, but couldn't be printed in a family newspaper.)
My cookbooklet set contains more than 100 tasty recipes, ranging from soups to salads, appetizers, main courses and desserts, that can be used when families get together to celebrate holidays and other special occasions. My mother used many of them when she hosted parties, as have I. To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby - Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. You will find tips on entertaining at the beginning of the first booklet. Anyone who hasn't entertained before should be sure to read them.
By following these suggestions, even the most nervous, first-time host can be confident. I know you will enjoy the recipes as much as we have and serve them with pride.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It's not what you put on the table, but who you put in the chairs that makes a successful dinner party.