Serving dishes

Once, while prepping for an engagement party I hosted for my friends, I started to get my serving dishes out since we had a lot of food. One of our friends who was helping us prep (and who also happens to be a best-selling author) said, “Chris, I just saw you pull all these beautiful, big serving dishes out of nowhere. It makes me feel like I haven’t really grown up yet.”

You, too, can experience the rush and thrill of making someone else feel small! Serving dishes will do the trick. What you fill the serving dishes with is probably kind of important too, but even spaghetti and Prego will look elegant when you put it on a classy plate. Watch out for more Imprecipes on HTSI though, and you’ll impress people with both your food and your taste in chinaware.

Protip: make sure to top all of your dishes with something green. A basil sprig, chopped parsley, a scoop of green tea ice cream - anything will do. (   img src   )

Protip: make sure to top all of your dishes with something green. A basil sprig, chopped parsley, a scoop of green tea ice cream - anything will do. (img src)

You might be wondering if I’m going to give you advice on where to find serving dishes and which ones to buy. If you haven’t noticed, I like to use “you might be wondering” or “the obvious next question” segues. Verbalizing our lazy writing habits is what makes this blog marginally funny. Okay I am really going to give you some advice now.

If you’re just dipping your feet in and just want to try out a serving dish or two before getting too deep, then the versatile shape of this White Pasta Serving Bowl from World Market is perfect for you. I know the name makes it sound like it’s for “White Pasta” specifically, but you could really use it for any race of pasta. Also great for: salads, chicken wings, giant bowls of shaved ice - pretty much anything but soup

If you serve a lot of salads, get a big salad bowl. No brainer. These can also typically hold a high volume of stuff, because they are deep and cavernous, so you can substitute in your salad bowl for when your white pasta bowl isn’t big enough. It might not look quite as elegant or neat, but it’s probably still more impressive than using 3 separate dinner plates to hold one packet of Shin Ramen.

Cheese boards are not even a little bit versatile. They hold cheese and bread, and maybe some dried fruit. Oh, and charcuterie. That’s a fun word to say. You could maybe fill tiny little jars with jam or olive tapenade or something. The nice thing about the slate cheese boards (though wooden cheese boards are nice, too) is that you can use some chalk, plus your new handwriting, to further impress.

Also, no, this was not a sponsored post by World Market. If only we were big enough to have the option to sell out.

Serving fancy water

When I’m hosting friends for a nice brunch or something, I like to spend as little effort, time, and money as possible - but that doesn’t preclude me from presenting a beautiful and impressive spread. While knowing how to cook simple, classy food plays an important part (and is a skill that we’ll eventually cover on HTSI), let’s start by picking some fantastically low-hanging fruit today. And then slicing it and putting it in some water.

First things first: when serving fancy water, it’s important to keep the advice from my last post in mind. Instead of serving water directly from the tap, get a pitcher or dispenser to put the water in - nice containers for ordinary things! There are plenty of affordable options to choose from; I’d recommend getting something made of clear glass or acrylic, to show off the stuff in the water. Also, note my correct usage of a semicolon in the previous sentence.

All three of these beautiful glass pitchers (technically, the middle one is called a carafe) are under $15 from World Market! ( Mario Pitcher , $12.99 |  Glass Carafe , $5 |  Clear Pitcher with Hole Design , $14.99)

All three of these beautiful glass pitchers (technically, the middle one is called a carafe) are under $15 from World Market!
(Mario Pitcher, $12.99 | Glass Carafe, $5 | Clear Pitcher with Hole Design, $14.99)

So about that fruit - we’ve got a lot of options to consider here. At the bare minimum, grab a lemon, slice it, and throw it in your water along with some ice. But even though we’re all about the bare minimum here at HTSI, lemon water is a little too expected to be impressive, so let’s look at some slightly more sophisticated options - including herbs!

Most people think herbs are just for cooking savory entrees. Another common misconception is that camels store water in their humps. Fun fact: camel humps contain mostly fat! Turns out that their visual similarities to boobs aren’t just a coincidence.

Herbs aren’t just for adding flavor to salty food. They can be used for a variety of things, including desserts, witchcraft, and fancy water. Here are some impressive (and tasty!) fruit-and-herb pairings to put in your water, along with pretentious restaurant menu descriptions of each.

  1. Lemon & Rosemary
    Citrusy, with notes of tree bark and autumn.

     

  2. Berries & Basil
    A balanced summer classic. Floral and sweet, with a delightful tang.

     

  3. Cucumber & Mint
    Refreshing. Tastes like a day spa.

     

  4. Cantaloupe & Parsley
    Adventurously bold. Sugary, with hints of grass.

     

Try one of these out at your next gathering in your brand new pitcher, and you’re sure to get lots of comments about how hard you’re trying. Don't worry, they'll get used to it soon.