Stylish summer soiree

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, August 11, 2009

While we may be nearing the end of summer, end-of-summer dinner parties are just kicking into full gear.

Whether you’re a seasoned hostess or a first-time mistress of ceremonies, you are going to want to host a noteworthy gathering that shows off your appreciation of both fashionable flair and first-rate food.

Hoover’s Birmingham Bake and Cook Company has all the essentials for a well-prepared dinner party and some of the frills to make you look like you know what you are doing.

“We’re all about information here,” said owner Susan Green.

With a low-pressure atmosphere, you can shop for the latest and greatest gadgets, while getting tips on preparing the perfect dish.

If you are not sure what to make for your summer soiree, pick up a cookbook from the shop. From “Everyday Italian” to “Paella Paella,” they are sure to have a meal to fit your fancy.

Best of all, Birmingham Bake and Cook offers both demonstration and hands-on classes for all levels.

Green’s simple suggestion for a summer meal- burgers.

“Burgers are being rediscovered as the American classic,” she said, quoting burgers as the hot culinary trend.

She suggests stuffing them with blue cheese and/or bacon for a gastronomic treat.

As for dessert, go with the season and choose berries or cherries to make an ice cream-based treat.

Or try grilling stone fruit, such as peaches or plums, basked in raspberry vinaigrette to stick with the grilling theme.

While you’re in-store for advice, pick up a decorative apron for $27.99 to look like a cooking pro, and be sure to check out the handcrafted Pacific Merchants Acaciaware that is sure to serve as a conversation piece for guests.

Other culinary finds include the Artesian Salt Company’s Pink Mineral Salt for $9.99 and the sea salt shaver for $16.95.

For a wine tasting party, be sure to pick up the popular Vinturi Wine Aerator for $44.95 that allows for enhanced flavor and a smoother finish to your wine selection.

Bake and Cook Classes

WhistleStop Cafe

Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Gadgets for Grown–ups

Aug. 19 at 11:30 a.m.

Hamburger of the Month

Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about Birmingham Bake & Cook, the classes and demostrations coming up this month or products offered visit

Jessica Vance can be reached by e–mail at