Forget the stressful dinner party for twelve. How many home cooks really drag out the china, silver, and linen more than a few times a year these days? Mom’s very best crowd-cuisine is fun, relaxed, and informal. From a hungry group of the kids’ friends looking for afternoon munchies to a potluck office farewell party to a 4th of July barbecue for the neighborhood, today’s typical gatherings are casual occasions to share hearty, homemade food.

Mom’s Best Crowd-Pleasers is full of recipes that reflect the way Mom really cooks today, simply tailored to feed eight or more people. Cucumber Sandwiches, Quesadillas, and Sweet and Sour Meatballs are all simple finger foods perfect for after-work get-togethers, book club meetings, and informal baby showers. Muffalettas, All-American Hamburgers, and deep bowls of Summer Fruit Salad and Broccoli-Rice Salad are delicious at backyard cookouts, tailgate parties, and summer pool parties. And Three-Cheese Noodle Bake, Cuban Black Beans, and Baked Barbecued Chicken will attract happy fans whenever the potluck gathering calls for a hearty hot dish.

Most recipes are designed to feed eight hungry people, but author (and home cook) Andrea Chesman provides advice throughout on expanding recipes, stretching dishes when the dinner seating unexpectedly grows from eight to eleven people, using clever shortcuts that make cooking for a crowd no more difficult than cooking for four, and generally maintaining a degree of sanity as more people come flooding through the front door.

As always, Chesman’s primary accomplishment is to provide homey, hearty tastes that satisfy modern palates, yet still bear the unmistakable stamp of Mom’s Best.
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