Story by Jill Bednar | Sep 04, 2013

If you love decorating, cooking or entertaining, this is the cookbook series for you or the perfect gift for someone cherished. Author and decorating guru Michelle Huxtable made this more than just a cookbook. Many of the menus include inspiring decorating and tablescape ideas with beautiful pictures that are mouthwatering to look at and dishes that taste even better than pictured. All of the recipes are easily made with everyday ingredients and feature a shopping list at the end of each chapter, including staples needed for preparation.

Huxtable has based the series on the pleasures of having friends and loved ones gathered around your table to enjoy good food and one another’s company. I was so lucky to host Michelle as she and I prepared a meal for a gathering in my home last May to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my business, Southbank Gift Co. While shopping for groceries and preparing the meal, I got to see how much thought she put into every detail. Although the pictures taken of that day are wonderful, they don’t do justice to the feelings of joy and contentment we all felt as we served, laughed, tasted and shared. It truly was a labor of love — and that is what her cookbooks are all about.

There are currently five volumes (pictures taken at my home are in chapter 10 of volume five). Volume six will be out this fall.

Available at Southbank Gift Co., 110 E. High St., 573-659-GIFT, southbankgifts.com