Entertaining without Reservations: Exciting, Easy, At-Home Menus with Microwave Alternates


190 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-9691311-1-9





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Halliday’s selection of menus and recipes suggests that she enjoys the work required to come up with a meal that’s a bit special or unusual. She doesn’t hesitate to call for expensive ingredients or time-consuming cooking procedures. The book assumes the reader will want to spend some time in the kitchen.

The recipes are grouped according to type of meal — a convenience for the reader who wants to follow a menu as Halliday maps it out, but a nuisance for most cooks, who will select dishes to make up their own menus. An index minimizes this minor drawback.

Cookbooks are for browsing as well as for the serious work of instructing. Halliday encourages that with helpful hints scattered throughout the book. The eight full-page, full-color photos are also an important aspect of the book: readers like to see what a dish is supposed to look like before committing ingredients and labor. The photos are not masterpieces, but they’re professional and serve to illustrate, if not inspire. More of them would have been welcome.

The recipes include some very unusual dishes, some regional specialties, some new variations on old favorites, and some adaptations of oriental classics. As the title indicates, the theme is meals for entertaining, whether at a ladies’ tea, a buffet dinner for a crowd, an elegant dinner party, or a romantic candlelight dinner for two.

The directions sometimes include notes on using a microwave oven as an alternate cooking method. As well, there’s a short chapter of recipes intended specifically for microwave cooking. A chapter on wine selection and serving is an appropriate addition to a book on entertaining.

Throughout, both imperial and metric measurements are used. The spiral binding allows the book to open flat or be folded back on itself, a convenient feature for a book that will be propped up on kitchen counters.

Canadians are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their food preferences, and cooking is becoming a nation-wide hobby. Those who are not ready for classic cuisine but are looking for something more challenging than omelets, will find this book useful.


Halliday, Donna-Joy, “Entertaining without Reservations: Exciting, Easy, At-Home Menus with Microwave Alternates,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35769.