Retiring is an accomplishment deserving of a grand celebration. You don't want to insult the guest of honor by setting out some greasy potato chips and packaged cookies. On the other hand, you probably don't have the time or money to prepare a gourmet appetizer, either. Fortunately, easy, tasty and budget-friendly appetizers can be made that will satisfy even the pickiest eater at the party.
Think about the tastes of your guests before you plan which appetizer to bring to the party. Consider whether there will be diabetics or people with food allergies attending the party. Peanuts and other food allergies can be life-threatening to some people. Children are another consideration. If the retirement party is held for the family at home as opposed to the workplace, children will likely be present. Young children may choke on small, hard appetizers, or they may simply turn up their noses at appetizers that are so fancy as to be unrecognizable. Plan accordingly.
Simple But Satisfying
The best appetizers are those that are tasty, easily identifiable, and are able to be eaten without making a mess. Again, this may include children if extended family members attend the retirement party. Easy appetizers are the ones that are simply and quickly made, with little or no cooking. One appetizer that meets all of these rules is a simple wrap. Start with mozzarella balls (sometimes sold as "pearls"). Wrap a slice of red bell pepper (roast it first to soften it, or pop it into the microwave if you are short on time) around the cheese, and then wrap a basil leaf around the pepper. Secure with a toothpick and you are done in less than a few minutes. Provide a creamy dip to make this appetizer more appealing to the kids. If you have time, you can even create a sign to place by the wraps stating "That's a Wrap!" in honor of the retiree.
Honor the Guest
Make the retirement party even more special by featuring some unique appetizers that are still easy. For the children, pop some popcorn. Drizzle it with real butter and mix in some Parmesan cheese, curry or ranch-flavored dry mix. Fill plastic wine glasses with the popcorn and "toast" the guest of honor's retirement. Or, choose a food that has special meaning to the retiree. If he started working in the 70's, for example, then a cheese fondue pot -- which was popular in the 70's -- might bring back some memories of his youth.
Do as much as you can the night before the party. That way, you will only have to assemble the appetizers before the party. Cheese spreads and creamy dips, for example, can be made ahead of time and put in the fridge overnight. In fact, this often helps blend the flavors for a tastier dish. Crackers can be laid out on platters and covered with plastic wrap.
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