Perfect Party Plans

A group of new cookbooks takes the peril out of hosting holiday events

It's the most wonderful time of year for cookbooks, which are hitting store shelves faster than snowflakes pile up in a blizzard. This year, some of the best are about the holidays themselves and how to celebrate them in style.

Celebrity caterer Serena Bass, who plans parties for the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Ralph Lauren and Kate Spade, offers up some of her party-throwing secrets in Serena, Food & Stories. Bass cooked her first dinner party at age 16 (for her older sister's boyfriend) by reading directly from a cookbook, and the experience shows: her precise directions and encouraging, down-to-earth...

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