Of all the reasons I like to cook, the top has to be getting to see other people enjoy good food. Whether it is a dinner party, kitchen party or backyard BBQ, it’s always about the people and the food. So if you have a gathering, here’s a little tip for you: It is the small things that people will remember. Assuming you don’t massively mess up the main course.
**For the record, your five layer Mexican dip does not count. It was fine in Uni when you ate on a limited budget, but no. Unless it is the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup or World Cup don’t make it. Ever.**
Want proof of the power of small things (Napoleon?)? Think of the last time you went to a restaurant. You remember if they served and amuse bouche or if the table bread was simply store bought rolls or something a little more unique. If you live in the US, chances are you’ve tried an Olive Garden in an experiment gone badly wrong or delusions of gastronomy. Face it, you ate mountains of breadsticks, and probably can’t remember what the main was.
Alas, my secret to hosting a great gathering has been taken from restaurants and the Olive Garden (no, they are not mutually exclusive). My secret is Grissini breadsticks. Now these aren’t American breadsticks, which are fluffy and swimming in garlic butter. So you get the added pleasure of using the term ‘Grissini breadsticks’, to be a bit more posh and sophisticated.
Last week we had eight people for a simple dinner of BBQ food and some salads. Nothing earth shattering. So to start things off I whipped up a quick batch of the moreish sticks. Actually, they are surprisingly versatile and open themselves up to a wide range of adaptations. For me the classic is sea salt flakes, but I’ve also tried them rolled in chili pepper, or herbs, or salt and pepper, or seeds like sesame or poppy. They are dead easy, and impress!