Fall is here and so are the myriad of little meetings and socials that require you to bring a dish. We are all guilty of slapping together a sad little appetizer claiming how busy we are to really put any effort into a savory snack. Stop by any house with cars in front of it and you will find a lovely dining room table with fresh flowers hosting cartons of pre-packaged spinach dip, hummus, a box of Triskets, chips and a jar of salsa to name a few of the typical snacks found at suburban meet ups.
Food is like fashion, and sometimes we all fall victim to routines and hot trends. Remember the 7 layer dip years? Or the crock pots full of cheese and sausage dip? A mainstay, with the help of local grocery store delis, continues to be the ever-faithful broccoli, carrots, and celery with the tub of ranch dressing in the middle. Over-priced, un-original, and stale veggies get pushed around the table for snacks loaded with sour cream, cream cheese, and mayo.
And there is usually one person who goes to some effort with a new dip and included one or all three of those items…the latest rage is the buffalo chicken dip…soon to be found at every meeting this fall and next fall.
Frankly, I think we all can do a tad bit better with our meeting fare…or skip the instant dip bought on your way there and bring an extra bottle of soda or wine. Who needs 12 tubs of humus? We all need more beverages.
However, we do get busy working, running kids around, and being the suburban super heroes imbedded in our DNA. So what’s the answer? Rotate your repertoire.
Decide a head of time your dish of choice for your fall events and try to be a tad bit inventive. If you do hummus, make it ahead, and do a different flavor each month. One month place it in a baggie and squirt in on cucumbers topped with an olive slice. Or make carrot humus and spread on dark pumpernickel slices. All can be done the night before and is as easy as throwing it in the blender. Humus does not even require measuring spoons.
This fall my dish of choice is anything I can put on a banquette slice. Since Annie (the bread lady at the farmer’s market) makes the best rendition of a French Banquette found in Paris, and I can easily freeze the crusty sticks of goodness. My go to snack will start with the artisan bread. In August I may top it with my pesto made from my basil in the community garden and a slice of mozzarella, and a few cherry tomatoes. In September I may top it with Capra Gia’s goat cheese and an olive tapenade I pick up at a grocery store. In October I may layer it with apple, pear, and blue cheese. If few ingredients are in my cabinet, I can always add honey to real butter, spread it on thick and add a few toasted almonds, or just leave it alone- fresh bread and local honey? Yum…beats the same old dip any day.
With all the options out there put your super hero food cape on and pass by the pre -packaged dips and come up with an easy dish that takes less time than parking.
See you around the buffet table!
Tricia Stearns is the market manager of the Peachtree City Farmers Market, ptcfarmersmarket.org, a Realtor with Prudential Georgia Realty and a mom of three grown daughters. You can read her blog at www.purpleokra.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.