During the time between your guests arrival and before everyone is seated at the table for a formal meal to be served, you might want to put out some tasty little snack foods for folks to nibble on. This serves several primary purposes: it’ll kinda jump-start everybody’s appetite and at the same time, hold ravenous hunger at bay so your guests are less likely to slurp their soup like pigs when they sit down.
Also, it gives the cook time to finish preparing the dinner; allows the host an opportunity to clean leftovers out of their refrigerator, and provide your guests something to do with their hands other than tugging and pulling at uncomfortable dress-up clothes, inappropriate scratching, and nose-picking. It also amuses their mouths, which is good especially if your guests don’t know each other very well.
Hors d’Oeuvres (pronounced “horses doovers”) also add the benefit of decoration if use of color and variety are employed. For example, you can dress up an oyster cracker with a little squirt of Cheese-Whiz. Pretzels and tater chips do nicely all by themselves, but a bowl of dip adds pizzazz (by dip, I don’t mean Skoal or Copenhagen).
Grapes and peanuts are impressive, but don’t forget to put out a bucket nearby to collect the hulls and shells, and provide a place for folks to spit the seeds. You can use the same bucket after dinner when the watermelon is served.
Always take the saltine crackers out of their original box, and put them on several plates located strategically around the room. Otherwise, some guests may get distracted in conversation, and forget to pass the box causing unnecessary lines to form.
An elegant touch is to put out a few trays of canapés (pronounced “can o’ peas”) which some folks call “feener sammiches”. DON’T make the mistake of actually putting out a can o’ peas as they tend to make a mess on the coffee table.
Dainty little sammiches are just smaller versions of bigger sammiches but just chopped up into bite-sized pieces no bigger than the end of your thumb. You can make these from leftover bloney, mater, or even nanner sammiches. If you really wanna “wow” your company, prepare the nanner sammiches by putting the nanner in a hot dog bun instead of between two slices of toast.
If any of your appetizers are chunky or dark green, remember to have plenty of toothpicks around. Also, keep a roll of paper towels handy in case folks wanna wipe sump’n.
Avoid boring duplications: If the main course is Kentucky Fried, don’t put out Buffalo wings before dinner. This confuses folks because wings are often used as the main course at formal society events like tailgating. If your party is a tailgate, dispense with all the above, and just put out the wings, and have a cooler full of beer iced down and ready to serve.
It would be remiss of me not to remind you that if guests are expected to wear shirts, the host should wear one, too. Unless it is a pool party: in that case, forget everything above except the beer cooler.