Hint, it involves consulting the tide charts and ensuring all guests know how to pronounce Lenny Kravitz.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting India Hicks, then you know what it is to be instantly befriended. If you haven’t had the opportunity to sit beside her as she regales you with a story of Harbour Island, then I invite you to read her latest book. It is the closest thing you’ll get to tea with India herself. Entertaining Stories is more than an entertaining book. It is part cookbook, part diary, and part guide to effortless style.
If you want entertaining lessons, Hicks has them for you. Just don’t expect them to be so straightforward as instructions on how to pair the right silver pattern with your china. No, her lessons are more along the lines of how to check a tide chart so that your beachside dinner doesn’t suddenly turn into a swim meet. Although, she does offer a compelling lesson on the importance of a seating plan lest you follow her mistake and seat Lenny Kravitz next to a guest who continuously calls him Zinny Crayfish.
There are real recipes here, too. India graciously asked a few key trusted culinary aficionados to lend their hands. Most notable is the woman who goes by Top Banana. A longtime family staff member, Claire Williams helped feed India most of her life. You can find some of her recipes within, like her famous chicken pot pie. You’ll also find recipes of a more tropical variety from in and around the Bahamas, like the simple banana daiquiri contributed by India’s partner, David Flint Wood.
Perhaps the most fun of Entertaining Stories doesn’t come from either the recipes or entertaining lessons. Instead, from the stories that make the book come alive. Hick’s voice is unmistakable. Her high spirits are palpable on the page. One moment she is telling you exactly how she and Mick Jagger came to be friends while admitting how absurd it is that she and Mick Jagger are friends in the first place. This same sort of gentle, self-effacing humor is what makes Entertaining Stories so dang fun.
Ultimately, this book is a hilarious romp through entertaining with a world-class hostess. India, for all her devil-may-care approach, is a uniquely skilled expert. She can read a room and establish a comprehensive social report in a single snap. This innate love and ability to understand people is what makes an India Hick’s party so fun. It’s what makes learning the rules of entertaining so easy. India isn’t about fussy. She’s about simple style and genuine connection. Throw a dinner party her way and I’m sure you’ll end up with some interesting entertaining stories of your own.