Things to Make You Go Mmm

A few time- (and sanity-) saving shortcuts that make the idea of having people over even more entertaining.

i hate to cook book!Chow Bella
If you can’t — or just don’t want to — take the heat, The I Hate to Cook Book ($16) by Peg Bracken will get you in and out of the kitchen with crowd-pleasing plates requiring minimal time and effort.
cube frozen pizzaSlice of Life
No shame in frozen pizza ($7-$13) if it has a story: Using spring water from Sibillini, locally sourced toppings, and a wood oven, Visso, Italy-based Pizza Romana tells a delicious tale.
alessi toast rack!Bread Winner
Fool even your foodiest guests with something shiny. The Alessi stainless steel toast rack ($223) makes simple sliced bread look like a culinary feat.
microwave popcorn popper!
Catch a Wave
As easy as a paper packet but healthier and way more attractive, the glass microwave popcorn popper ($20) works fast. Add butter to the screen-bottomed lid to coat kernels during cooking.
williams-sonoma apron!Chef’s Choice
Suit up to show up — and we don’t mean your best delivery boy uniform. A denim apron ($19), made from durable fabric that ages well with use and washings, will get them every time.

For more cookbooks, kitchen tools, and ideas that pair well with martinis, go to ShopTalk. Looking to move your party outside? We’ll show you how.

this week on swirl!
Up to 75% off Edun
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