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Favorite (and Least Favorite) Party Foods

OK people, the holiday season is pretty much over: what were your faves and not-so-faves of the parties you went to? Did anything prove to be a pleasant surprise? Were there things that you were tempted to spit right out onto the floor? Tell all.

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  1. As for crudities for dipping or nibbling purposes I do not like raw broccoli. Or raw snow peas. Or raw zucchini. As for raw cauliflower and raw mushrooms - meh.

    The best are jicama, daikon, carrot sticks, and cucumber slices.

    1. Little leek and gruyere puff pastry turnovers.

      1. My favorite party foods were the classic dishes I look forward to every year, my aunt's Apple and Savoy Cabbge Chicken Salad (though not so much her lime and horseradish Jell-O mould), in particular. At my own party, beet-pickled deviled eggs, paratha pizzettes and Scotch quail eggs turned out to be huge hits with guests asking me to go back to the kitchen and start second batches.

        The dough for Simply Recipe's curried pork empanadas, however, was a hassle to prepare with little textural and flavor differentiation from my normal dough. And while there were other unsuccessful dishes I served and was served, I just chose to move past them in the spirit of holiday celebration.

        1. I like most anything in puff pastry or Phyllo cups. I'm over shrimp cocktail (though I served it Christmas..LOL) and tired of "ordinary" cheeses.

          1. Unless a host/hostess insists I bring nothing, I take a sushi platter with me to holiday parties.

            This season, the jealous sushi platters were parked next to:

            - a hot artichoke dip that was the best I've ever had. It was garlicky, contained a few (rinsed) capers, and red peppers. That's about it. With hunks of good bread, it was divine.

            - a mound of smoked fish, arranged very attractively, that'd been bought at Barney Greengrass in New York City; with all the "trimmings" (good onion, tomato, bialys, etc.)

            - chopped liver with "woodsy mushrooms" that was a chicken-y, mushroom-y comforting dish that I ate an embarassingly large amount of.

            - pea soup shots with shallot confit and cream that was rich, rich, rich.

            The sushi platters were not jealous, and indeed sniffed pretentiously at:

            - a sad crudite platter that included those "baby carrots" that're just carved by machine from big carrots and end up turning white because they're dried out. These were accompanied by dried-out pepper rings, dried-out (and brown-edged) broccoli florets, and aging tubes of green onion. The centerpiece was a bowl of mayonnaise-based, salty goo that would be a good ball joint grease for the car, in a pinch.

            - "Buffalo Wings" that were basically boiled in grease, then sauced with hot oil, butter, and more grease. The wings had become rendered shards. Hey, the blue cheese dressing served with the celery sticks was actually pretty good.

            - "Mexican Casserole" containing low-fat refried beans (?!), low-fat cheese, bottled salsa and no-fat sour cream product. I actually tasted this just to see what low fat eaters put themselves through. I'd had enough with one bite and ran to get a piece of buttered bread.

            - gallons of turkey "chili"

            - and, finally, at the home of a woman who's the very embodiment of fashion, her "homespun" sister (who's very outspoken about my friend's "outrageous spending") never fails to entertain us all by setting out her contribution, "cheese and crackers;" a hunk of supermarket Monterey Jack and some saltines.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shaogo

              I knew as soon as i read the first two lines this was you shaogo.... And your likes sound amazing..... why weren't you at my party? lol

            2. If there are devilled eggs I am tempted to park next to them and not move until they're gone. I usually resist this. I adore cheese straws, sausage balls made with just sausage, cheese and Bisquick, mushrooms stuffed with a smoked oyster, crackers and cream mixture, patés of any kind, cold poached salmon, ham or tenderloin with biscuits. I do not try to deal with Jell-O salads or baked beans, and wish the supermarkets would stop selling those dreadful crudités trays with the sad, ancient vegetables and very bad ranch dressing. Oh, and those baby quiches? They're OK, even though I know you bought them frozen, whereas I always make them from scratch...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Will Owen

                Will Owen your posts always make me smile! And I applaud you and your open love for those infernal sausage balls. I swear they call my name and I cannot ignore them.

                I am a sucker for mango/habenero sauce over cream cheese ever since it was foisted on me at costco.

              2. Lots, of Cold, Briney, Plump, Bursting with flavor Raw Oysters !!!! Yes!!!!!!

                Carrot Sticks....Please deposit in your flower beds/compost pile along with the peelings..
                Celery Sticks....Got any Skippy Peanut Butter?? Pimento & Cheese? If not let's chop them up with some onion and bell pepper, and make something good!! :)

                1. so tired of the obligatory crudite platter... don't like raw broccoli, snap peas in any form, red pepper, olives... and please put away the spinach dip and hummus before the turkey dinner... i guess i'm not sure what else i'd want to see before a big feasty meal, but maybe i'd rather see nothing... is there really a need to pre-gorge?

                  i did some lovely three cheese mini-souffle bites for a holiday appetizer party that went over extremely well. also did some wonderful japanese eggplant skins (much like potato skins, but different filling, obviously...).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Emme

                    Nooooo...Dont stop the crudite platter, Emme! Please!! This is what I survived on over the holidays -- I am vegetarian, so pretty much anything vegetarian looked like ambrosia to me. Everyone else was saying "I'm stuffed", "I couldn't possibly eat another bite", etc, while I was mentally computing how to score the largest piece of pumpkin pie. Those eggplant skins sound great, though!

                    1. re: rramoni

                      agree!!! I love the crudite platter myself, and it made the meals much more survivable! that plus the (awful) fruit salad my grandmother makes

                      1. re: rramoni

                        lol... i'm a veggie too... altho i've recently accepted a small bit of fish into my life when necessary. i too live on these platters, but i guess i'm tired of having to live on these.... i'm sick of the meals being center around ham or brisket, and then other side dishes that i can't eat either... ugh rant on my family over.

                        the crudite platter will remain. but maybe someone could parcook some of the veggies for me.

                        1. re: Emme

                          I eat fish about once a month or once every other month, so i can no longer consider myself a vegetarian, but I love pickles, olives, baby carrots, celery sticks.... so i love the crudite platter. My family is one of meat eaters, i.e., almost every dish has meat in it, or dairy. And i'm lactose intolerant. Sooo..... yeah i've learned to be happy with what i have :-P

                    2. I am not a fan of that super-dry black bread that some people insist on using as a base for smoked salmon. If I have to eat something that could serve as a dehumidifier, I'll take a table water cracker instead.

                      And although I would never buy or make one, I do look forward to the port wine cheddar cheese ball with the nuts on it.