Monday, December 18, 2006
I met Dina Cheney during the summer of 2005 just as she was beginning work on her first book. Dina is a freelance writer and chocolate tasting host, a graduate of culinary school and a charming, enthusiastic, thoroughly knowledgeable cook. This fall DK published her book Tasting Club, and since then Dina has been on the go sharing the tasting party gospel with harried hosts across the country. Instead of slaving away in the kitchen for hours preparing multiple courses before a dinner party that we will likely be too stressed to enjoy, Dina suggests we throw tasting parties centered on a specific food or drink category. Invite some people over, gather a few varieties of whatever food the party is focused on, eat, discuss and enjoy. Tasting Club is a meticulously researched primer on how to do just that. Each chapter focuses on a different tasting ingredient, from chocolate and apples to olive oil, honey, and cheese. In clear and engaging prose, Dina educates readers about the food they’re about to eat, suggests recipes for accompaniments, and offers tips on what to taste, look and smell for. The photographs are stunning and the book as a whole makes me want to throw a new tasting party every week!