smackerelWhen friends stop for a glass of wine, kids come to visit, or guests are in my kitchen for dinner I love setting out a small tray of food to nibble on. Call it hors d’oeuvres,  call it antipasto, it is good without being too filling and breaks the ice and gets people chatting and mingling. Our daughter has a friend that years ago while both girls were in high school would stop by and they would sit at my little table in the kitchen and share a small plate of goodies. They somehow named this a ‘smackerel’. Yes, Winnie the Pooh and honey come to mind! The name sticks to this very day! The smackerel is never a lot of work. Whatever I have is what goes on the plate so it is rarely the same twice. In all honestly, diced carrots in a bowl look a great deal more appetizing grouped on a tray or fancy dish. Sliced pickles, nuts, canned whole tomatoes sprinkled with basil and Parmesan, celery cut and sprinkled with chopped olives, lunchmeat cut in squares, chunks of leftover chicken or roast, all work. Often I have a jar of artichokes and/or black olives that go over really well. Once when in a pinch I opened a can of tuna and drizzled olive oil on it and black pepper and it was so good it is often a regular item I use. No crackers on hand? Toast some bread and cut it in triangles without the crust and everyone will be happy! The point here is a small prelude to a meal, or a quick snack, doesn’t have to be preplanned or tons of work. It is delicious and people will think you are a wonderful cook for your effort, and you are!

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