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Summer Entertaining with B. Smith

B Smith Summer Entertaining Ideas

Get quick tips on how to make your picnic table sparkle and more entertaining ideas from B. Smith.

Make your picnic table sparkle

Turn a bare picnic table into a festive and inviting focal point for any outdoor event with these easy tips from lifestyle expert and entertainer extraordinaire B. Smith.

  • Choose a theme: "I decide on one long before the party. That way, when I’m out at a vintage shop or the dollar store, I can pick up trinkets, cups, plates and napkins that fit right in."
  • Set the scene: "If we're having a shrimp boil, for example, I lay out newspaper on the table. It's an informal but entertaining way to dress your table. Think of similar touches for other themes."
  • Add your own flowers. "I create small, individual arrangements from my garden using fresh flowers and herbs. It's the perfect finishing touch."
B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style

Buy B. Smith's New Cookbook,
B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style

Exclusive: Kitchen Chat with B. Smith

By Diane Carlson, Editor

B. Smith has done it all: from top model, to restaurateur to cookbook author. Her reputation as alifestyle maven makes her one of the most sought-after experts in the business, often sharing her lifestyle tips in Essence and other national magazines, as well as on TV. We recently had a chance to visit with B. Smith, and got the inside scoop on her amazing career.

Q: Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit?

I think I was born with it. As a young girl, I had a paper route, sold magazines and had a lemonade stand. Throughout high school I was involved with fundraisers, and was a volunteer Candy Striper at the local hospital. What's never changed: I have always been passionate about the projects I'm involved in.

Q: Who taught you to cook?

I was really self-taught more than anything else, but it helped growing up in my mother's and grandmother's kitchens. I've also been influenced by different cultures I experienced through my modeling career, and later when I moved to New York City.

Q: Tell us about your new cookbook, B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style.

B. Smith Cooks Southern Style is a departure from my previous two cookbooks. It's heavy on recipes, with fewer entertaining tips. As in my restaurants, it is set up with everything from mouthwatering appetizers to elegant and inventive beverages. The cookbook combines soul-satisfying traditional Southern fare with some new twists on old favorites.

Q: What is your creative process for developing recipes?

I do my homework. I research each recipe thoroughly, getting the history as well as alternate preparations, then use this information to put my own personal twist on it.

Q: Which Betty Crocker product do you rely on most for summer entertaining?

Betty Crocker Cornbread and Muffin Mix are both so versatile; I make croutons for my salads, fritters for appetizers or cornbread for those with a craving for the traditional. It's so quickand easy. Actually, I keep in the cabinet all year-round.