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Jennifer Rubell, 36, writer, renowned hostess, hotelier, Harvard grad and member of the illustrious Rubell clan, is poised to become the country’s newest entertaining guru.  Jennifer is currently Food and[…]

People are overambitious.

Jennifer Rubell: I think the most common mistake in home entertaining is being overambitious.  So people have not entertained for a year.  It’s the holidays, and they are gonna pull out all the stops, cook from scratch 15 different dishes; have a bar with six different, you know, special cocktails and a full bar; hire people to help serve.  I think being overambitious is . . .  It’s the worst thing you could do when you entertain because first of all you’re gonna fail.  Because in order to do that, you really need to be in practice.  And it just takes a lot of . . . it takes a lot of little errors to understand how to entertain that ambitiously well.  And I’m not even interested in entertaining that ambitiously to begin with.  And if you set yourself up for success instead, without sounding like too much of an infomercial, you’re gonna have a much better shot at having a successful party.  So keep . . . keep it tight.  Don’t be afraid of serving one really good dish.  And also if you’re not into big experimentation . . .  If experimentation with new dishes is just not . . . that just doesn’t give you intellectual and sensual pleasure, nail one dish and serve it all the time and just be known for that, you know?  Have the best roasted chicken anybody has ever eaten, and people come to your house for that roasted chicken.  Instead of trying something new every time; and you don’t really like doing it; and you’re totally fearful; and you test it out three days before, which I think is a totally crazy concept anyway.  Yeah, just keep it really tight and play . . . play to your strengths and within your comfort zone.

Recorded on 12/13/07