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Great minds dress alike (left to right): Daniel Jenkins, Harry Bader, Rich Wilkie, and Bram Majtlis

Tonight is no exception. Stolman has effortlessly enticed a sizable collection of friends to attend an impromptu cocktail party in his condo, employing key pieces of his own advice from Confessions. For one, Stolman believes the crux of entertaining is the menu. In an era of Pinterest and Food Network inspiration, he suggests hosts don’t go overboard. “No one loves a theatrical experience more than I do, but I don’t think that it necessarily has to be a part of food all the time,” he says. “Yet we are bombarded by images and recipes that are so self-consciously stylish they lose sight of the fact that: Hey, this is just an hors d’oeuvre. It doesn’t have to be a work of museum-quality contemporary art.” The food at Stolman’s parties is never untouched, he says, because he serves recognizable cuisine. Tonight, the dining room table is laden with an array of selections from what he calls his “tight repertoire of dishes that cause people to lick the bowl.” Precision-cut toast points await a generous dollop of chilled caviar, while savory asparagus bites dot a red coral Raynaud buffet plate and Swedish meatballs mound in a luxe chafing dish. But the headliner might come as a surprise: bacon-topped egg salad, served in a large silver Revere bowl. It’s one of Stolman’s ultimate crowd pleasers, and several guests head straight from the entryway to the dish and help themselves to an appetizer plate.

“It is important for a host to make it easy on their guests and don’t demand that they have to figure out the food,” Stolman says. “I only make things that are familiar. How can you say no to a pig in a blanket? People don’t say no. They smile when they see them and say, ‘Oh, thank God, there’s pigs in a blanket.’” As for drinks, he has one key piece of advice from his book: Don’t make them yourself. “Don’t be afraid to hire a bartender,” he advises. “For gatherings over 20 people, it allows you to be a gracious host and actually enjoy your own party, rather than being a slave to it.”

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