Tastemaker Aerin Lauder takes readers on a year-long journey through four seasons of entertaining—complete with her easy but oh-so-elegant tips and tricks.
Aerin Lauder’s affinity for beauty is quite literally in her blood as the granddaughter of makeup legend Estée Lauder, and her latest book, Entertaining Beautifully, is an intimate portrait of an artist at work. As an avid entertainer, Lauder has gathered a wealth of knowledge from both her own experiences and, of course, those of her famous grandmother.What could be a book filled with tips on planning grand parties and balls worthy of international acclaim is instead a beautiful how-to guide on producing simple soirees and celebrations. It is perfectly balanced between aspiration and inspiration, nothing feels out of reach for even the once-in-blue-moon entertainer. As we follow Lauder through a year of entertaining, from a charming spring fete and poolside party to her son’s spooky Halloween-themed birthday and cozy winter supper for three of her closest friends, we witness how she approaches each season with a stressless joie de vivre that comes from years of honing her craft. Lauder opens with an important reminder for all of us who succumb to the pre-party panic. “Enjoy a few moments of calm for yourself, so you can truly focus on [the meal] and enjoy your guests.” This focus on purposeful moments of reflection reveals the lesson at the heart of the book: there can be beauty and elegance in simplicity and ease. The menus at Lauder’s fetes aren’t filled with hard-to-pronounce dishes, but instead feature classic comfort foods like roast chicken and mashed potatoes. And at her post-Thanksgiving lunch, where she and her mother serve leftovers from the day before, the table is set with earthenware, horn-handled flatware and simple gingham napkins. Ever the consummate hostess, Lauder leaves readers with a small but priceless gift at the end: a resource list. While there are the traditional spots like Bergdorf Goodman and Williams-Sonoma, local New York City artisans like illustrator Happy Menocal and Lael Cakes also join the impressive mix. In a time when we can’t have large gatherings or even really even leave our homes, Lauder reminds us to search for those small moments and savor them—an intimate Sunday night dinner for your nearest and dearest can be just as exciting as a big bash for fifty.