Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book Review: Simply Green Parties

I wrote this book review for a writing gig that went south so I thought I'd post it here. With the holiday's coming up, I'm sure people are looking for ideas to make their festivities a little more eco-friendly. This book has some good ideas. Here's the review:

It’s easy to go overboard when planning a special event in your home, and going overboard can often lead to a party that is not environmentally friendly. Simply Green Parties by Danny Seo has “simple and resourceful ideas for throwing the perfect celebration, event, or get together.” The ideas in this book can help any host add eco-friendly elements to a party.

The book is divided into 6 party themes: Dining Under the Stars; A Twist on a Birthday Party; A Spring Baby Shower; Sizzling Summer Party; Your Housewarming Party; and Winter Warm Up. Seo gives ideas for environmentally friendly foods, d├ęcor, table settings, gifts and more. The ideas for each party can be interchanged easily, however, and used for any type of party being thrown.

In the Housewarming Party chapter, for instance, Seo suggests using discarded champagne corks as place card holders. To make the place card holder, run a sharp knife through the top third of the cork and place the card in incision. Or, use the same idea to identify foods in a buffet or on a cheese tray. Of course, this idea doesn’t need to be for a housewarming party only. It can be used anytime you need place cards or a way to identify foods at a party.

Other party ideas that caught my attention in this book are scooping the leftover hot coals from a grill into fireproof bowls and allowing guests to make s’mores with organic chocolates, creating birdbath wine coolers, and making eco-friendly wineglass ID tags that reuse paint chip cards.

There are also hints and tips on organic wines, making or choosing eco-friendly candles, helping your caterer go a bit more organic, and saving money when buying organic.

Like any book on party planning, readers can take the ideas that work for their party and that fit their style and leave the ideas that they don’t like. There were some ideas that I found unappealing – such as using Twizzlers as a replacement for drinking straws. But there were many ideas that I’ve already used a few times at gatherings in my home.

Each idea is accompanied by detailed instructions. There are full color photographs of finished items, projects, and dishes. Seo notes in “A Special Note to the Reader” that all of the props and materials used in the photographs were created with recycled, thrift shopped, and/or organic materials.

Simply Green Parties is published by Collins and retails for $19.95, and as should be with any book that encourages greenness, it’s printed on recycled paper.
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