Does anyone keep an entertaining/hostess journal?
Are they as helpful as I think they are (guest list, menu, what worked, what didn't)? Can anyone recommend a good one? Seems like they'd make good hostess gifts, too.....
i sort of do this with a blank leather journal that i keep out on one of my tables, which was a gift from a friend. I try to keep tabs on wines i've had at home and at other's places, and definitly what not to serve to certain people (like so and so despises berries....don't make for dinner).
As for other "what didn't work" type things....i have my own cookbook with written and glued in recipes etc...i tend to write in there what i didn't like about stuff, or what really went over well.
I think it's a great idea.
I keep a regular journal and will often make notes in that on how dinners went. It's also useful for keeping track of restaurants. One of my sisters recently asked me the name of the place in NYC where we had that great cinnamon tea many years ago. I don't remember, but I could and did look it up. Recipe notes and changes go right in the cookbook where I can't miss them.
I like to do a recap after each party we throw, so I know what worked and what could be improved. While I've seen some sassy pre made books (Pamela Barsky?) I tend to balk at the price, and just use a simple blank notebook.
What I include is date, theme of party, people who attended, people who did not, what I served and how much, what was a hit, what I had left over, what it was served in, etc. This helps me gauge how much to make for the next time (we're strictly drinks and apps people, no dinners for us) and also what I maybe have served too much and should leave off the menu the next time 'round. I find it fun to re-read, as it is like enjoying the party all over again, and have found that my "what I would do different next time" notes have definitely improved my hostess skills!
I have a small journal that I keep on my kitchen counter when cooking and in my bag when out and about so I'm always taking notes about things that I'm trying or what's inspiring me. Like others, after entertaining I always make notes about the menu, wines, my guest's likes/dislikes, allergies, etc (which can get pretty complicated with vegetarians, vegans, onion-haters, dieters, etc in attendance!). It's nothing too formal - it's full of scribbles, pages covered in spills, the occasional sketch, etc.
I wouldn't exactly call it a "journal," but I do make short notes on my computer's appointment calendar showing who was here and what I served. The way I misplace books (by shoving them into the nearest bookcase regardless of where they belong) I'd probably have dozens of journals with only one or two entries in each.