Photo of food by Dan Gold

Tasty Tips: Setting Out Exciting Foods for a Family Gathering

St. Patrick’s Day is here and Easter is just around the corner. Here are some tasty tips for exciting food to serve at your next family gathering

Family gatherings can be as stuck in tradition as we let them.  Some people bring the same sides every time, watch the same movies, and have the same conversations: but it doesn’t have to be like that!  Our families are full of amazing people that grow and change as time goes on, so we shouldn’t celebrate them the same way we did twenty years ago.

Instead, here are some fantastic and fun new foods to try at any family gathering so that you can surprise and delight those great people you’ve known your whole life. Liven up your next gathering or holiday parties with some exciting foods.

Make an Unusual Fruits Tasting Tray

You may not be able to provide an entire salad bar for your next holiday gathering, but there are dozens and dozens of fruits in every grocery store that most people don’t ever try.  Mix things up by making a sample tray of these so that you can try new things with your family.  Avoid using durian the first time you do this because the smell might throw off some people and keep them from wanting to try it, but get other fruits!  Dragon fruit has a mild and sweet flavor like pears and, paired with the sweet starfruit, makes a great combination.  Lychee, pineapple guava, horned melon, and even figs are fruits that many Americans haven’t tried in their natural form.  Trying something new together can strengthen bonds and improve the family dynamic!

Homemade and Seasoned Crackers

Although homemade crackers may sound boring, they’re not!  By making these crunch treats at home, you’re given free rein to flavor them however you want.  Consider combinations your family may love, like garlic thyme, rosemary lemon, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  To do this, follow a recipe for simple crackers, and then put whatever seasonings you want in.  You must choose drier herbs to avoid adding too much liquid to the recipe.  After that, add a fun pepper jelly dip to excite and intrigue, and surprise your guests with something they haven’t seen before!

Hot Sauce Bar

Due to the popularity of shows like Hot Ones, many people are reaching hot sauce more than ever before.  If your family likes a little heat, you can mix up the party by offering a flight of hot sauces.  These can range from extra spicy to deep and savory.  Ensure the boldest flavors get a spot of pride on the table, where your bravest family members can go for a spicy experience.  This can inspire a fun competition to see who will eat the hottest foods and help your family take a chance on new flavors.  

Before you know it, you’ll have cousins trying hot sauce on foods you usually wouldn’t and bored uncles taking bets on who can handle the hottest sauce on its own.  Although you shouldn’t throw this party anywhere with a light-colored carpet, a flight of spicy sauces can add some fun fire to an otherwise dull event.

Family gatherings are a place to catch up on everything that’s happened and plan for everything you want in the future.  We connect over food and conversation, and there’s nothing like a good family gathering to inspire togetherness. Try something different next time you have the family over for a holiday party for Christmas, Easter– or tonight for St. Patrick’s Day!

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