“Let’s make a fun spread situation!” my friend said to me one afternoon, as we chatted about what to eat. We were both feeling a bit lazy in our daytime sweatpants, and didn’t want to eat out but also didn’t want to cook—quite the modern predicament. A “fun spread” was our answer. A meal for which we could simply buy a bunch of things, doctor them up with a few fresh ingredients and pantry staples to make them feel a bit more homemade, and arrange everything together on a pretty board or platter so that we could nibble, snack, and chat without exerting too much effort or thought for our meal.
I’m a big fan of this style of dining, as I have a “minimal effort, maximum flavor” approach to cooking. I love food that tastes good and making delicious meals, but I don’t want to leave the kitchen feeling exhausted afterward, or do a ton of dishes, especially when I have people over.
If that makes you go, “me too!,” then welcome to your new favorite book. This low-effort, high-reward cooking approach is also applied to serving those wonderful recipes. Here, you’ll find vibrant and flavorful, low-maintenance food spread out on boards or platters for the sake of simplicity and ease. It’s a more convenient and casual way to eat, and it looks beautiful, too. While I love a good cheese and charcuterie spread, boards don’t need to be relegated to snacks and dips for daytime hangouts or cocktail hour (though you’ll find plenty of those here, too), as they work for any meal, any time of day—whether you’re gathering around the table for dinner, serving food for a crowd, or planning an outdoor get-together.
You don’t need a lot of kitchen skills or experience to make these recipes, as the board-style approach is meant to be low-stress and more about enjoying time with friends and family over a gorgeous (and highly tasty) spread of food than anything else. While everything here is simple to prepare, you’ll find that the flavor combinations, colorful food, and serving suggestions make it look and taste anything but simple.
This book is built for flexibility, and you are in charge of how small or large the spread becomes—each key recipe (i.e., the main thing you’re preparing for a given board) can be eaten with as many or as few of the accompaniments, condiments, and suggested sides listed for the board. That way, you won’t have to think too much about what goes well with what, as I’ve done that work for you, and you can scale up or down depending on how many people you’re serving.
No matter how you choose to assemble them, you will be able to put these boards and spreads together quickly and easily—preferably while sipping on a drink, so that you can spend more time chatting with friends than working in the kitchen. Soon you’ll find that arranging food on big, beautiful boards and platters is one of the most fun (and easy) ways to serve a meal.
Hope you enjoy!
Copyright © 2022 by Yasmin Fahr. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.