I have been catering and coordinating special events since the early 1990’s and am also an avid home cook who loves to learn new cooking techniques, experiment with new recipes and entertain our friends and family. In 2006 I threw a birthday party for my oldest son Martin’s 27th birthday. It was a lot of fun and the menu was delicious. One of the guests was Martin’s business partner, Rene. At the party we conversed about how difficult it is for newlyweds and new nesters to find resources to help them learn to entertain without overwhelming them. That one conversation led to Martin and Rene approaching me the following week to ask me if I would consider writing a book to help beginners learn to entertain. They were interested in developing it into an e-book. This eventually evolved into the printed books.
I was considering starting a business of my own at that time. In addition to my catering background, I served as a Coordinator of a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) community program for several years and also as a Director of Women’s Ministries for 8 years. During that time, I discovered that I was able to relate with and encourage younger women. So the idea intrigued me and I thought the timing was right and writing the book might be a good fit consistent with my experience and gifts. Not to mention that my biggest fan (ok, well my only one) my husband Augie, had been encouraging me to write a book for years. He saw potential in my writing abilities and was enthusiastically on board as soon as I told him I was considering writing an entertaining book for beginners. I started writing Easy Entertaining for Beginners in December 2006 and completed it in August 2007. Since my book is a non-fiction/cookbook category, there was lots of time in the kitchen as well as at the computer.
From the very beginning, I wanted to help beginners gain confidence and enjoy their first entertaining experiences. I have made plenty of mistakes and goof-ups during the many years of entertaining in my home and I know the pitfalls involved. That was precisely why I thought I could relate to my audience. I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of the extremes of thinking you have to be a gourmet chef to pull off entertaining. Or the temptation of being such a nervous wreck that everyone enjoys the event but the host. This is what I would love to help beginners avoid. Successful casual entertaining adds such enjoyment and wealth to life! It is a great way to connect with friends and family and to meet new people and get to know acquaintances better. Entertaining family and friends can be extremely fun and satisfying. So I set about putting together easy recipes and complete menus for occasions that I thought new nesters would most likely desire to host in the first few years in their homes. I encourage a novice host that a bit of organization goes a long way towards successful entertaining and to NOT take his/her mistakes too seriously. I want my readers to know that I am in their corner and have complete confidence in their ability to express their creativity in offering hospitality to family and friends.
Patricia Mendez is the author of the cooking and entertaining book, EASY ENTERTAINING FOR BEGINNERS. You can visit her website at www.ezentertaining.net.