Cooking and partying without alcohol

It seems that, more and more, social life centers around alcohol to an astonishing degree, says Dorothy Crouch, who was inspired to write Entertaining Without Alcohol (Acropolis Books, $14.95) when friends told her they had stopped entertaining because they had stopped drinking. In many cases, she says, they avoided French restaurants like the plague because of the numerous wine sauces. Ms. Crouch recommends substitutes for many of the wines and liquors often listed in recipes today, and she explains spicing and serving techniques. She also explains how to use vanilla bean for flavoring, thus eliminating the alcohol found in commercial vanilla.

Following the excellent suggestions in this book, there's no need to stock alcohol in one's home in order to entertain successfully, and there are recipes as well as invaluable ideas and tips for any kind of party or social occasion.

Crouch's own cooking skills and her interest in entertaining people of diverse backgrounds led her to research and write on this subject; and the result is the most definitive and sensitive book on alcohol-free entertaining to date.

Phyllis Hanes is the Monitor's food editor.

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