Much Depends on Dinner
by Helen Kain
History buffs. aspiring and experienced cooks and those with a fondness for gorgeous table settings will all delight in Helen Kain’s latest book Entertablement – Much Depends on Dinner. The stars of this book are the ‘Domestic Divas’ whose recipes, homemaking tips, dining décor (and decorum) made their enduring mark on each era, right up to the present day.
Filled with humorous quotes, personal insights and tantalizing recipes that encapsulate different eras and styles of cooking and hosting, the book offers dramatically different perspectives on the planning, values, and artistry that go into a memorable home dining experience. It is vivid in its portrayal of the care invested in an exceptional dinner and shares countless insider tips for the most effective use of the cook’s energy and resources.
Observing the anxiety that often accompanies the preparation of dinner in modern times Entertablement—Much Depends on Dinner chronicles the history of cooking over the last few centuries and the integral domestic factors involved in preparing the evening meal. The book showcases masterpieces of food and domestic environments in beautiful photographs, with intriguing and dramatic biographical passages on some of the most iconic figures of cooking.
In addition to the historical aspect, Helen offers up her approachable interpretation of how recipes and table settings from past eras might look if modified for today’s world.
Era #1—Class Distinction
The industrial revolution created a middle class, eager to enjoy creature comforts previously accessible only to the very wealthy. The transition from agrarian to urban life was fraught with complex social strictures and a dearth of practical advice, described in this chapter through vivid illustration. Eliza Smith wrote the first cookery book published in America—an accessible companion for women carrying out household tasks. We also meet Hannah Glasse, a woman who rejected the complexity and expense of French cuisine and embraced delicious but simpler dishes.
Era #2—The Highest Highs & Lowest Lows
The burgeoning social mobility in the 19th is seen through the story of Isabella Beeton, whose iconic Book of Household Management lent further female credibility to cookbooks, and paralleled the movements for women’s suffrage and social freedoms of the era, This chapter includes an overview of the ‘Dollar Princesses’, young socialite women from North America who sought to marry into titled families in Europe.
Era #3—Mid-Century Modern
How capitalism came to define American women in the 20th century and their food-buying habits feature in this chapter. Brand names became ubiquitous, even fictionalised cooks such as Betty Crocker. Julia Child worked to make fine cooking accessible in this era, contrasted with simultaneous efforts to simplify cooking and reduce its stress through commercial products. The ritual of Afternoon Tea outside the home became increasingly popular.
Era #4—The Development of the Dinner Party
The mid-to-late 20th century saw the emergence of yuppies—baby boomers seeking to have it all. This self-sufficiency ideal was reflected in the rising popularity of Nigella Lawson, who promoted cooking in more simple terms, likening it to strengthening oneself and a means of survival. A more ad hoc style emerged with mixing and matching tableware and a focus on the end result rather than adhering to conventions.
Era #5—So Much Food Porn … So Little Cooking
The emergence of the Information Age has meant that endless choices characterize cooking; the Internet provides us with limitless ideas. This chapter emphasizes keeping a grip on the real rather than being consumed by the virtual. It highlights the rise of self-taught cooks and their growing platforms of influence. These cooks are not necessarily full-time but driven by pure passion.
The Four Seasons
by Helen Kain
From Helen Kain, author of the popular Entertablement.com blog featuring table settings, food, celebrations, and travel, comes this elegant book filled with previously unpublished table finery and delectable cuisine. The book thoughtfully begins with the basics such as white tableware, neutral runners, white napkins, and clear glassware and builds from there, adding layers and colour to suit the occasion, and to delight family and guests of all ages. Helen writes, “I strive to make guests feel welcome, let family know they’re both important and cared for, and build memories, especially for the youngest generation of five granddaughters.” Narrated with just the right balance of wit and wisdom, flowers and found items often take centre stage, transforming the basics into something unique and extraordinary.
The recipes are thoroughly explained, beautifully prepared and served up with style equal to the lovely tablescapes.
Filled with inspiration, from simple to sumptuous, the stunning photography and beautiful, timeless settings in Entertablement—The Four Seasons, will make this collectable book a favourite for generations to come.
About the Author
A self-taught photographer, she started the Entertablement blog in 2012 to share her creative outlet of tableware, baking, and home cooking.
In her professional life, Helen spent 30 years as an Investment Counsellor and Portfolio Manager before retiring for the first time in 2011. She is the co-founder of Authentic Impact, a leadership development and executive coaching firm based in Nebraska and Ontario, Canada.
Helen and her husband, Glenn, split their time between their homes in Canada and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which they share with multiple golden retrievers, cats and an outspoken teddy bear, Teddy.
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Recent Posts from the Entertablement Blog
Launched nearly a decade ago, with new posts every week, the Entertablement blog is filled with beautiful tablescapes, delicious recipes and fascinating travel stories. There’s inspiration in every post (and no distracting advertising). Here are links to a few recent posts: