Retro nibbles, with upgrades
When tryptophan-tastic aromas waft from the kitchen on Thanksgiving, televised parades and football games are not adequate diversions to allay hunger. Children, especially the grown-up variety, need something edible to keep them occupied while holiday feasts are being prepared.
Plenty of people out there would be perfectly content to forgo the main event entirely and make a meal from the shmears, dips, crunchy munchies and bite-size morsels set out during the day. My sister is one of them.
"If there were a way to make Party Mix look like turkey, it would save me a lot of trouble," she says. Nothing counts as a real occasion in our family unless it begins with Party Mix, my version of the cereal-based snack food baked with butter, Worcestershire sauce and seasoned salt. For others with more diverse tastes, I fashioned the accompanying retro assortment: a vegetarian spread; a deviled-egg and crab combo; meatballs made with ground chicken and Indian flavors, and mini turkey franks with water chestnuts in a plum sauce. Both the meatballs and franks can hold for a couple of hours in a chafing dish or crockpot.
The idea for the latter evolved from a suggestion made by Nycci Nellis, a friend and founder of TheListAreYouOnIt.com. She combines cocktail weenies with brandy and brown sugar in a saucepan and, as she puts it, cooks the hell out of them.
Nellis's family subscribes to the abundance theory of entertaining, offering a groaning board of delights, including charcuterie and cheeses, before the repast. I asked her how anyone could eat all that and still sit down to turkey with the trimmings.
She replied with the utmost sincerity, "Sweetie, you just power through."
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