Sorry, I know this is a super hypocritical post to write directly after I just blogged about practicing yoga during the holidays in order to stay healthy - BUT, I feel compelled to share the greatest party hack ever, because it's so easy and it was such a hit. It's not healthy, but trust me, it's a winner and you should try it.
I like to have friends over on occasion, and I like to feed them. My husband is all about the post-dinner party, because he doesn't like to figure out food, but I hate it when someone invites you over to their house and doesn't even provide so much as a bag of pretzels. I get hangry. I don't have fun. Sorry, but I think if you're going to invite people over to your house, you should do the decent thing and provide some food. It doesn't have to be a lot! But it does have to be something. A bowl of store-bought hummus goes a long way.
Over the years, I've tried all sorts of party foods. The aforementioned hummus is a staple. My friends always enjoy a baked brie (and it's so easy). This past Halloween I made chilli and served Frito Chili Pie, which was a big hit, but not exactly effortless.
And that's the goal - hosting a party should at least appear effortless, otherwise you risk making your guests feel uncomfortable when they see how much work you've put into the event. The logistics of the party should fade into the background everyone can focus on just having a good time.
Thus I present to you....
...the humble popcorn tin. Turns out, it is the ideal party food. Inexpensive, volumous, and awesome. I don't know if they have these things all over the world, but they're fairly ubiquitous here in the United States, especially around Christmas for some reason. So my American friends know exactly what I'm talking about, but for those of you who don't, this is what lays inside:
The three flavors are virtually always the same: caramel, cheese, and butter. The combination is addictive. Everyone dives into the sweet caramel corn first, then balances it with the almost sour flavor of that atomic orange cheddar cheese. And then when you needed to cleanse the palate, you might eat a handful of the "butter" flavor, which had almost no flavor at all. Eat and repeat.
My grandmother used to get these tins from the dollar store and give them to us for Christmas. I don't know if my parents were that happy about it, but my brother and I always liked it. During the post-Christmas break, the two of us would watch our limited VHS collection on repeat as we worked our way through the caramel and cheese flavors.
I don't think I've had a popcorn tin in over ten years, but yesterday I saw one while I was at CVS picking up some wrapping paper. Since we were having friends over that night, I figured I'd just get it and leave it out in case anyone was interested.
Best five bucks I've ever spent. They INHALED this popcorn. And everyone had happy memories of popcorn tins over the holidays, which spurred conversations, and yada yada yada, we all had a good time. I can't think of a more effortless and frankly delicious party food than the humble popcorn tin. I had no idea it would go over so well.
Anyway, just a thought for a casual get together or even a campy holiday cocktail party. Flavored popcorn. Easy and awesome. Try it out.
If you're interested, they have quite a range of popcorn tin options on Amazon, from the gourmet stuff to the more humble Coca-Cola branded cans, but honestly, you can usually find them for way cheaper at the drug store. I don't think I would spend more than five bucks on this stuff, to be honest, but if you don't have them in your area, they might be a fun gift for the family or to serve on Christmas Eve.
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My Books on Amazon:
Waking Lions by Avelet Gundar-Goshen
Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro