Actress and recent cookbook author Ali Larter shares her party philosophy: plenty of cocktails, a made-ahead main course and a big, gooey cake for dessert.
The first time I met Ali Larter was at last year's Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, at a dinner prepared by Los Angeles chef Michael Voltaggio. Ali and I agreed that our favorite course was the branzino with cauliflower branches. Later that night, she texted me a picture of her bedtime snack: a bag of salt-and-vinegar potato chips. I texted back a photo of mine: a canister of sour-cream-and-onion Pringles. We are culinary soul mates, I thought.
At the Voltaggio dinner, Ali had shown me a copy of her new cookbook, Kitchen Revelry, with a year's worth of entertaining recipes arranged by month. At first, I was skeptical of a cookbook from an actress who became an icon for wearing a whipped-cream bikini in the film Varsity Blues. But I liked the look of the book, with its holiday cheese fondues followed by January juice regimens. "When I'm cooking, I want people near me, so I keep the fondue warm on the stove; my friends sit on the counter and dig in," says Ali, who grew up cooking meat loaf and Philly cheesesteaks with her mom in New Jersey.