A Peek Inside Our Party Notebook

The most indispensable entertaining equipment we own isn't some complicated kitchen gadget or fancy-dancy serving tray. It's a spiral notebook that cost less than two bucks. In it, we keep the details of every fête we've thrown since we started entertaining together in 1993: who we invited, who rsvp’d and who actually came; the evening’s menu; how much food we made and how much (if any) was left over; what went well and what we’d do differently the next time. Every time we plan a party, we page through our notebook for inspiration and guidance. (And we referred to it constantly while we were writing Cocktail Parties, Straight Up!)

If you’re entertaining for the holidays this year, take a few minutes the next day to jot down the details. (You can keep your notes in a computer file, of course, but we stick with our low-tech notebook because we can easily paste in grocery receipts and examples of invitations we sent out.) Don’t forget to include any memorable anecdotes from the evening. We love to go back and see who brought a date that later turned into a husband or remember the guest who sang opera after he’d had a couple of cocktails.

And if you've decided to enjoy the holiday season from the other side of the bar, use your book to write down hors d' oeuvres you love or ideas you’d like to borrow from other people’s parties. When it’s your turn to play host, you’ll be two steps ahead of the game.

Happy holidays!

Lauren and Anne
The Purcell Sisters

The Purcell Sisters