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the fine art of 
inger foods
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Call them hors-d’oeuvres, call them appetizers, call them cocktail foods, finger foods, party foods – whatever the moniker, these tasty little victuals clearly abide by different rules than our standard dinner fare. Perfect party food is as much about presentation as it is about taste, requiring therefore that you not only be a fabulous cook, but an artistic soul as well. Oh, and a proclivity towards extreme anal-retentiveness doesn’t hurt either.

Yes indeed, you lazy cooks should be forewarned: crafting your own finger foods from scratch can be a gargantuan pain-in-the behind. Each individual dish may be quite simple to assemble (and in fact, ideally, should), but it’s the act of juggling several dishes simultaneously that can send the impatient cook over-the-edge. If you’re of the opinion that no food is tasty enough to warrant more than 20 minutes prep-time, you’re probably best off sticking with your ready-made, college party staples – hummus tubs and salsa jars and other perfectly tasty, albeit somewhat pedestrian, munchies. If, on the other hand, you’d like to treat your party guests to some spectacular homemade foods that are a feast to both eye and belly, here are a few tips that’ll help make the process as painless as possible.

Making the food 
Party food should, ideally, satisfy the following requirements:

  1. You should be able to hold a single serving with one hand.
  2. The foods should not require utensils to be consumed neatly.

What this means is that anything oily, drippy, or otherwise liable to make a mess all over your clothing if you attempt to eat it with your hands, should be served in a manner that ensures a clean and easy passage from platter to mouth. The four ideal party food candidates: dippy things (sour cream dips, salsas, guacamole), chippy things (potato chips, tortilla chips, pita chips, toast), stacked things (canapés, miniature sandwiches, pizzas, quesadillas), speared things (marinated veggies on toothpicks, skewered grilled goods).

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