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Hosting Must-Haves


I am planning two, possibly three, dinner parties in the coming weeks. Nothing makes me happier than planning and carrying out a dinner party where the guests enjoy the food and drink down to the smallest details. Heeding the quote in my webpage’s heading, “no profusion of unmeaning dishes”, I continue to study and refine my entertaining skills and tools. In the newsletter that I receive from America’s Test Kitchen, I enjoy their occasional articles on recommended tools for baking, grilling, breakfasts, and so on. Every product recommendation and recipe in the newsletter is backed up with thorough research. If they say it’s good, believe them. And what could be more appropriate than their recent article that provides some recommended tools for hosting? Please use this NEWSLETTER link to read the full article and if you like, sign up to receive your own copy every week or two. I wont go into each and every product they recommend – some are quite expensive – but there are several that I will be adding to my arsenal.


First, is a terra cotta bread warmer. Warm it in the oven at 350 for ten minutes and place it in your bread basket to keep the bread warm for half an hour or more. Simple, effective, and reusable. $7.95 at


Next, bottle-cappers, something we’ve all seen but never seem to have around the house when you need one. How many half-opened bottles of sparkling cider, beer, wine, soda have gone flat in your refrigerator for want of an effective cap? Here is a set of 12 silicone caps for $6.99 from that really work. Or, if you have a lot of bottles, you can even buy a set of 54.


Finally, a Waring Pro WO50B Cordless Wine Opener with Vacuum Sealer and Foil Cutter. At $31.99 on, it is no inexpensive kitchen gadget, but given that our cork remover (that looks like a rabbit) broke I think this will make a fine addition. This would be a wonderful gift for the wine aficionado on your shopping list too.

You can read about the $299 coffee maker, or the $115 water warmer in the newsletter. I’m sure they do their job well, but they’re not in my price range. The newsletter always has great recipes and recommendations. Sign up and see for yourself.

More about the upcoming dinner parties shortly.

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