People who know me know I’m not much of a snacker–I like meals too damn much to ruin my appetite for them–and yet when I read this couple of sentences in Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal I slapped my own forehead and felt like a judgmental jerk for not seeing the obvious about a good, social snack, not the half granola bar in your desk drawer but rather the sort of nibble you serve to friends when they come over and gobble up yourself when you are the friend being hosted.
“Offer something small to eat as soon as anyone enters your house,” writes Adler. “It needn’t be sophisticated.” To her, that’s radishes or crudité, olives baked with lemon peel, simple crostini made from stale bread, “or toasted nuts, or halved soft-boiled eggs sprinkled with salt or topped with slivered anchovy.”
And why do this?
You will have provided the greatest hospitality you can, acknowledging the quiet gurglings we all have and never bother to tell anyone about*: we’re supposed to be hungry three times a day. When you insist whoever crosses your threshold is hungry for an olive all of the time, you permit hungers outside the thrice daily ones prescribed.
*This might in fact apply to people who don’t discuss the state of their stomachs with their sisters on g-chat.
It’s just so warm, this sentiment. We feed people not just to assuage hunger, but to make friends and loved ones feel good.
As for that toasted nuts suggestion, I’m all aboard. But while plain toasted nuts, especially pecans and cashews and hazelnuts, will delight even dietarily restricted guests, I think we can do better a lot of the time. By tossing the nuts with two Tabasco hot sauces, these toasted nuts have a ton of flavor. One sauce is fruity habanero, the other smoky chipotle. The combination might ignite your mouth, but as soon as the flames subside, you’ll be reaching for the next portion of this very good, very addictive snack. If you’re hosting a barbecue this Memorial Day weekend, don’t forget to offer some small bite before you throw the burgers on the grill. It’s the hospitable thing to do.
This post is sponsored by Tabasco as part of TABASCO® Tastemakers program. You’ll see more recipes in the coming months, too. All opinions, as always, are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who keep BGSK delicious!