I live in a community where, at any given potluck, you can count on finding no less than three varieties of quinoa salad along with several dishes that feature kale. We take our kale seriously, and did so even before it was fashionable. We know the difference between Lacinato Kale, Red Russian Kale, and the more common Curly Kale; we know which kind works best for a kale salad, and can identify on sight whether our kale has been locally grown or shipped from California. Though I am always happy to pile my plate with these healthy offerings, I will sheepishly admit that, for me, part of the fun of a potluck is trying to get away with something. I prepare for a potluck with two goals in mind: 1. To bring something my kids might actually eat. 2. To put less effort into the potluck dish than I would into a regular evening’s dinner.
As it turns out, my favorite solution is an hors d’oeuvre that is as far from kale as possible: pigs in blankets. Though this food seems to make many adults wax nostalgic, they were not a feature of my childhood. We were deviled egg people. I didn’t discover pigs in blankets until a few years ago when a friend of mine brought them to a party and all of the guests wolfed them down before they’d even had a chance to cool properly. I will share with you now her method.
1. Mix some mustard with some honey.
2. You will need two packages of crescent roll dough and one package of refrigerator mini-sausages. My friend uses li’l smokies. Those are good. I like Aidell’s chicken sausages, mainly because when I say “pigs in blankets” I want my “pigs” to be figurative, not literal.
3. Lay out the dough and cut each triangle in half. Each piece of dough gets a nice little spot of honey mustard and one mini sausage. Toddlers and preschoolers are really good at rolling them up.
4. Bake them before you leave, or, if you can cook them off at the potluck that adds to the dramatic effect and anticipation.
As an example of how ubiquitously loved they are, I offer you this: I have a good friend who swears by her organic whole foods diet. Her skin is radiant. She bikes everywhere and drinks kale smoothies. She’s fifty-two, but if you just met her you’d probably guess she’s thirty-six. In general, if anyone offers her food, she wants to know what’s in it and where it came from. More than half of the time, she’ll politely decline. But let me tell you something: she will eat my pigs in blankets. She does not ask me what is in them. The reason is pretty obvious, I think. Who knows what’s in those crescent rolls? She knows that if she knew, she would not eat them and they are too good not to eat.
So it goes with the rest of my community. My pigs-in-blankets offering sits happily on nearly every plate between the quinoa, the kale, and the beets. No one asks me what’s in them or looks at me askance. I like to think they’re all secretly happy to eat something with zero grams of dietary fiber. Oh, and one more thing: by the end of the evening, the pigs are always gone.
Image credit, actual pig in blanket: cutepicturesite.com