Monday, February 19, 2007

Bookshelf: Fake cakes and entertaining the elderly

I'm going to keep this book review short and sweet, because unlike Amy Sedaris and her more famous brother, I'm not particularly funny--at least not intentionally.

Gosh, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence is one weird book. Weirdly compelling... but do I trust a yummy-sounding recipe if it comes from a humor book's tongue-in-cheek chapter on cooking for a funeral? Do I dare make her chicken dishes, all of which seem to require at least a full stick of butter?

And it isn't just recipes. Amy offers up pointers for paranoid hosts ("A good trick is to fill your medicine cabinet with marbles. Nothing announces a nosy guest better than an avalanche of marbles hitting a porcelain sink"), bizarro craft ideas (including her famous fake cake) and tips for dealing with the grieving, pot-heads, drunks and children.

With page after page (over 300!) of collage-like eye-candy (retro-style pinup shots of Amy, stained recipe cards and unappetizing food photography straight out of 1968), I Like You offers days--even weeks--of browsing pleasure. But is it an entertaining guide? A cookbook? Is it just for laughs? I'm not entirely sure.