At our Thanksgiving, the cocktail napkins are printed in all caps: “Forced Family Fun.” My mom bought them one year on a whim, and they’ve now become a tradition, as much as the turkey or the braided biscuits. My cousins, my sisters, and I like to laugh over them as we nibble at the appetizers and catch up. Note that this little slogan immediately becomes ironic, since we’re family and laughing and therefore having non-required amusement with our kin–exactly the opposite of what the napkins claim.
We don’t put out a huge appetizer spread at Thanksgiving, so as not to fill up before the turkey or the pie, but every few years we come up with an interesting hors d’oeuvres for people to nosh on, and I think I just created a good candidate for this year’s.
Athens Foods’ Mini Fillo Shells are a container for whatever fillings you like–classic or made-up. The sweet flavors that grace a lot of Thanksgivings’ savory foods had me thinking about mini versions of baked brie, but then I spied the bag of sweet potatoes on our counter and decided to use those for sweetness instead of dried or fresh fruit. I grated the potatoes, then sautéed them with olive oil, garlic, spices, and herbs. Sweet, but not too sweet, I piled the starchy shreds in the phyllo cups, on top of little morsels of brie. It was only afterwards that I realized I’d created little potato nests which looked a lot like potato latkes, which made me think of the hybrid holiday that will not be named.
I know we have a few more weeks of fall to breeze through before we’re having not-forced family fun over a feast that begins with appetizers like these and ends eight days later with latkes. I’m already excited.