We’re having a spread cocktail party. It’s not a Christmas/holiday party: We’re deliberately doing something different.
There will be no cheese ball covered with bright red pomegranate arils, no eggnog scented with nutmeg, no holiday cookies. Just spreads.
In fact, we’re calling them cocktail spreads, since we’ll be serving them with wine and cocktails.
It’s not that we’re anti-Christmas; it’s just that we’ll be eating all the traditional seasonal party foods at everyone else’s parties.
A spread is a food that is literally spread, generally with a knife, onto bread, crackers or similar foods. The bread serves as a base to enjoy the flavorful spread.
Spreads are distinguished from dips, which are not spread onto a food but but have food dipped into them instead. Spreads are thicker, dips are tinner.
Spreads can be made from
We we’ll be serving a dozen choices from this master list. Make a selection of different colors and intensities (mild to pungent).
Set everything out buffet-style.
Fortunately, we’ve got lots of bowls, and baskets for the different breads, toasts and crackers (the most interesting ones we can find).
There will be gluten-free crackers and crudités for the carb-averse.
And for those who need something more “substantial,” there will be a honey baked ham with honey mustard, and a poached salmon with yet another spread: sour cream and dill.
Now for the tough work: cutting down the list of spreads to pick an interesting collection.
 White bean dip, from David Tanis Market Cooking.