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Book Reviews

amy sedaris

amy sedaris

*EW PICK!* To fully appreciate the genius of Amy Sedaris' hilarious guide to the domestic arts, I Like You, you need a taste of her hospitality wisdom. On composing the invite list: ''If the party is going to be made up of mostly young pretty girls, then you might want to invite some old men. Nothing makes them feel more alive.'' On guest etiquette: ''Never try to out dress the hostess unless you are the guest of honor, or a transvestite.'' Add in a slew of (non-joke) recipes and some curiously handy tricks with panty hose, and you've got one hell of a how-to. Or the best hostess gift on the planet. Grade: A

-Entertainment Weekly

amy sedaris

"Sedaris's sidesplitting guide to throwing parties hopes to return readers to the times when the word entertainment was "charmingly old-fashioned, like courtship or back alley abortions." While her tongue is firmly in cheek, novice party-planners will actually find some helpful hints along the way as Sedaris offers instructions and real recipes. Her tips run the gamut from how to properly freeze meatballs (freeze them on a cookie sheet before putting them into a freezer bag so they won't stick together) and deal with the inebriated ("Better to cut them off rather than pretend it's not happening and then allow them to stay over and wet your bed"). She's a generous but crafty hostess ("A good trick is to fill your medicine cabinet with marbles. Nothing announces a nosey guest better than an avalanche of marbles hitting a porcelain sink"). Etiquette pointers include inappropriate introductions ("This is Barbara, she can't have children") and things to avoid saying to the grieving ("Did she smoke?" "Was he drinking?" "Where were you when this happened?"). Her advice is both practical and hilarious; her instructions on removing vomit stains ends with "or just toss it, chances are you've stained it before." Sedaris's first solo effort (after Wigfield with her Strangers with Candy co-stars, as well as several plays with her brother, David) is an outrageous and deadpan delight, greatly enhanced by her deliriously kitschy illustrations and photos."

-Publishers Weekly (July 17, 2006) - starred review

amy sedaris

Do you find the thought of entertaining to be, well, less than entertaining? Does the mere idea of making hors d'oeurves make you howl? When you hear "hostess," do you think "cupcake?" Then I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (Warner Books, 2006), by the ever-scampish Amy Sedaris, was made just for you. Amy's take on being a gracious host is simple, straightforward, and scathingly funny (of course). But lest you think this is a book better suited to the humor aisle, "This is not a joke cookbook," Sedaris sternly warns. "I don't like joke cookbooks because I can't take them seriously." Indeed, her recipes (including one for her famous cheese balls) are perfectly serious and scrumptious, even if her etiquette pointers and game ideas are a little eccentric (blind-date suggestions: don't cry, don't assume he can read; kid's party game: "Jr. Cat Burglar: lock the kids out of the house and see if they can break in"). Die-hard Sedaris fans will delight in advice tidbits such as "How to Get This Look," which shows Amy all gussied up as Greek goddess (in homage to her heritage), with step-by-step instructions for replicating the costume. And the pics of vintage-style food spreads are a scream--think hamburger buns bedecked with faces fashioned out of veggies, atop a crisp gingham tablecloth circa 1967. This mix of kitsch and comedy is kicky and silly, yes, but Amy's suggestions are as solid as they are unconventional--like her rules for enlivening a dish with color ("a red onion and pumpernickel croutons will jazz up any salad") and texture ("crunchy will always punch up soggy," but "never have bumpy and lumpy on the same plate"). The recipes within will make a party princess out of even the shyest novice, for I Like You never gets too complicated. "Because if there's one thing I am," remarks Sedaris, "it's clinically simple."

Brandy Barber, October 2006 issue of Bust

amy sedaris

In this first solo publishing effort, playwright and comedic actress Sedaris (coauthor, The Book of Liz ) shares with readers her collection of quirky, idiosyncratic tips on entertaining garnered from her mom, Girl Scouts, waiting tables, bartending school, and other eclectic sources. Though the lion's share of the book is devoted to what she calls her "personal jackpot recipes" (for such colorfully named dishes as "Brenda's Vulgar Barbeque Sauce"), Sedaris also includes creative ideas for themed parties, instructions for wacky craft projects (mostly made out of retired pantyhose), and advice on gift-giving for everyone from nuns, priests, and children to the divorced man in the office and women in early menopause. Bearing in mind that the book's subtitle refers to substances the author euphemistically calls "party enhancers," public libraries will no doubt find an audience for this wild and irreverent guide.

-Deborah Ebster, Library Journal

amy sedaris

The actor, caterer, film star, comic, and sister of David Sedaris charms, seduces, entertains, instructs, amuses, and just plain invites readers into her somewhat eclectic life. Readers will revel in the more than 100 recipes with menus for dozens of occasions (or not), from blind date at home to table for one (an evening alone, that is, with steak and salad). Her recipes, by the way, are no rivals to the Culinary Institute of America; for instance, the directions for "carrot coins" call for slicing carrots so they look like coins and sauteing with butter, salt, and pepper. Readers can choose from any number of easy items to craft--a Greek dress, a calf stretcher, or a mini-pantyhose plant hanger. Among the various tips shared: "One possible origin of the term 'monkey dish' [is] originally a dish made from a monkey's skull." But everyone can simply enjoy her wisdom-filled one-liners, with at least one appearing on every page. (About entertaining the elderly, she says, "Keep them engaged or it's the express train to nappy-land.") This is hardly a Reader's Digest compendium, but David Letterman would be pleased with it. Media tours and promotions alone should drive demand.

-Barbara Jacobs, Booklist



amy sedaris rocks.com copyright by katie richardson