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Published: Saturday, 10/28/2000

Forecast is for delicious showers

While many of us are looking ahead to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, some folks are thinking about upcoming wedding and baby showers. Even though these events may not be until 2001, plans for menus and festivities are under way.

Two books with party ideas - these are not the showers your mother had - are sure to appeal to young women. With descriptions of everything from decorations and favors to recipes, Wedding Showers by Michelle Adams and Gia Russo (with photos by Jonelle Weaver), and Baby Showers by the same authors are trendy, visual, how-to books (Chronicle Books, each $14.95). The authors were associate editors for Martha Stewart Living. Need I say more - other than these ideas are beautiful?

First the wedding shower: A quick guideline covering six weeks prior to the party gives you a sense of how to organize what has to be done. Whether it is an afternoon of desserts featuring Double Chocolate Raspberry Cake or a tropical cocktail party with Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Skewers, photos show not only how food is supposed to look, but also how the table should be presented.

Imagine a shower theme of “A Day of Beauty.” This party indulges in an afternoon of pampering - manicures for everyone. (I like this already.) Lunch is light and healthy with Spa Noodle Salad and Shrimp Spring Rolls. Favors include homemade bath salts; recipes for all are included in the chapter.

Two of the four showers are outdoors, reflecting the authors' California lifestyles. Still, some ideas are adaptable no matter where you live and what kind of weather dawns on shower day.

Baby Showers also has four themed parties. For example, the “Decorating the Nursery” theme uses an invitation that's a collage of paint chips. What a clever way to clue guests on the color theme of the nursery. Pesto Chicken Wraps are made with foods purchased from a gourmet shop. For dessert, Lime Bars can be made in advance.

A “Daisy Brunch” menu has items with contrasting flavors of sweet and savory. French Toast with Mascarpone and Sugared Berries is offset by Yellow Pepper Frittata. Daisy invitations are hand-made creations.

Artistic concepts with food to match will create memories for such special occasions.

Speaking of the art of food, the Food for Thought: Art that Feeds the Mind and Spirit exhibit will be showcased through Nov. 11 at the American Gallery at 6000 Sylvania Ave. in Sylvania.

A collection of works from Midwest artists shows how food inspires the palette and the potter. From Ann Tubbs comes functional pottery and tables with ceramic tiles. Michael Sheets' acrylic on canvas titled Pie a la Mode speaks to the cook in me. It looks lifelike and delicious. Then there's whimsy, such as Curley a.k.a. “The Butler,” a life-size model in silicone by artist Tom Kuebler.

Some of the pieces are very realistic; others you have to stop and think about. But as Toni Andrews, one of the gallery owners, says, “Food is a theme that everybody relates to.”

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor. E-mail her at food@theblade.com.

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