Dave, the band’s lead singer, is screaming my name from the porch. Apparently, my husband wants to sing me a song.

But I digress.

The husband turned 60-something last week. He wanted a big, bluesy, must-remember-this party for friends, work colleagues and neighbors. So I pulled out the serving dishes, raided Costco for paper plates and plastic forks, and hired my son’s guitar teacher’s band.

The day of the party dawned windy and cold, and I woke up with a throaty cough and stuffy nose. Fussing in the kitchen over tiny, precious snacks was the last thing I wanted to do.

So I didn’t.

Gone were my plans for salmon rillettes and snow pea-wrapped shrimp. Ditto the vision of curried shrimp toasts and relish-stuffed phyllo cups.

Instead, I pulled out platter presentations and rustic recipes I could whip up in about 10 minutes.

We nibbled on quite a spread:


My most taxing job was making sure the chip bowl stayed full.

Which was a good thing. When Dave called, I was free to go outside …

… and hear my husband sing “My Girl.”

Simple Appetizer Spread

Who says you need to spend hours fussing to feed a crowd? Put these simple nibbles on your prettiest serving dishes, scatter some colored marbles around your table, and you’re free to party with your friends.

1. Candy an assortment of nuts, then serve them alongside grapes, dried figs and apricots, and melon wrapped in prosciutto:


2. Pickle seasonal vegetables and serve them in mason jars:


3. Whip up a quick pimento cheese spread and serve with crackers or baguettes:


4. Supplement the spread with stuffed olives, smoked almonds and salt-and-pepper kettle chips. Open something bubbly, and celebrate!