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ELLEN'S KITCHEN
store-bought appetizers..tacky or tasty
Masonyah
12/26/09
Hi Ellen, Great website. Hope you get a tv show soon. Is it okay to serve store-bought appetizers at social events, such as, banquets, holiday parties, etc.? A friend says I'd be surprised how often it's done. I thought most were restaurant made. At Sam's Club, for example, I see big boxes of sliders, spanikopitas, and other hors d'oeuvres. Is this a tacky thing to do or is it a hidden caterer/restaurant secret? Thanks!
ellen
12/26/09
Hi, Masonyah,

Back in the days when everyone who threw parties had lots of help and big kitchens, of course most items were made at home.
Now, some skilled hosts/hostesses make big reputations on food that is principally "assembled" from good sources.
Also, most restaurants except the very highest front end from-scratch restaurants use at least some frozen items. The spanakopita you mention is a good example; well made and baked up fresh, they are delicious.
And it's like anything else; there is a big range of quality. So you have to try items first and cook them right. Pick best quality cheeses, not cheapest. And so forth. A friend who does several famous receptions a year at her high end boutique, gets all her selections at Costco, adds a gorgeous home made punch, and smiles.

Personal story: Back when I was in my 20's, I was at my Mississippi grandmother's when they gave a fancy holiday party. She used a tiny frozen biscuit for her cocktail biscuit with the country ham and other good things. An effusive guest said, "And homemade biscuits; perfect of course". "Oh," I said, "they are Mrs. Marshall's (brand)".
Nonnie ran me into the kitchen at once and explained in no uncertain terms that the correct answer was, "They are good, aren't they?".
If it's good and free, what is the issue?

Carole
12/28/09
I second Ellen's input about Costco -- reasonably priced and everything food-related is usually excellent. My own rule of thumb is for any gathering outside my home, it's usually something store bought that I know is tasty. At home, I usually have a mixture of easy to make items along with some quality bakery goods, fresh fruits and veggies, that sort of thing. I don't entertain a lot of people at home so making some items is manageable. Your mileage may vary!
 
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