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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Resource Wed Mar 19 2008

Chic on the Cheap

I’ve always got a reason to throw a dinner party, but I don’t always have the cash. We all know living and dining in Chicago is expensive, but don’t let a bourgeois obstacle like money interfere with one of life’s greatest pleasures: entertaining. Last weekend, while struggling to conjure up a cheap yet elegant dish that I could serve my nine guests, I decided to abandon my Martha Stewart complex for one night and ask for help.

The premise is simple: instead of asking a guest to bring their own dish, have them bring an assigned gourmet ingredient. Then assemble the meal according to your own discriminating standards without revealing what it is you’re actually preparing. For my frugal festivities, I made whole roasted garlic with toasted baguettes as an appetizer, wild mushroom risotto and an asparagus and cucumber salad with homemade lemon and herb dressing.

By using my suggestions for guest assignments as a guideline, the remaining ingredients should cost no more than $20. Or, if you are one of the culinary challenged, lure a kitchen-friendly friend by absolving them of their obligation to bring anything, and let them do the cooking. Mix it up with other dinner party concepts: why not try a Top Chef challenge? Ask your guests to bring their favorite ingredient and test your creativity in combining some or all of them.

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jo / March 19, 2008 5:09 PM

i so wish i was there to have enjoyed such a fun and festive idea!

Michelle / March 20, 2008 10:52 AM

YUM! Ab, rawk on - will you get your own show on Food Network already!!!

bobbi / March 21, 2008 12:55 PM

I would love to have your risotto recipe--it looks delicious!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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