Old fashioned relish tray foods

Tangential to the current Thanksgiving thread, I wondered how many remember or continue the mid-Century custom of relish trays. I remember celery, carrot sticks and canned olives as being musts.

More recently, I’ve made pimento cheese

for dh’s stuffed celery fix

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Cornichons, for definite sure. Iced radishes. And I still love canned black olives. Go ahead, judge me.

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Love pimenna cheese (that’s how they pronounce it in the Carolinas). Do you remember as kids putting black olives on all your fingertips? Thinking back, those must have been pretty big trays, cause we had huge dinners, and all we cousins of a certain age did it. I remember the homemade bread and butter pickles, as well, think there were always pickled beets. Memories.

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Ditto. We now use cold butter on the radishes, include a trio of pitted olives, roasted red peppers, and pickled cauliflower on the tray.

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@pilgrim, your stuffed celery made me recall this history of relish trays from the turn of the last century.

Food history fascinates me, and then I have an excuse for a snack.

https://www.boston.com/food/food/2014/11/24/celery-and-olives-dominated-thanksgiving-for-nearly-100-yearsuntil-they-didnt

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We had iced radishes too, and they were always cut into roses - my favorite.
image

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@TheLibrarian Oh, yes! But we never served them on parsley leaves. I LOVE that! Thanks.

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Actually we never did either! That was the only image I found that looked close to the ones we had at my grandparents’ house. Most of the other images show ones that are super fancy and complicated.

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My mother (and I’m sure her mother before her) always included carrots, celery, canned black olives, pickled beets (homemade), usually radishes, and a ranch-eque dip in the center of the cut-crystal Lazy Susan. Sometimes pimiento-filled green olives as well. Did I mention that my mother grew up in the 50s and is not a super creative cook? :slight_smile:

When I make one, I generally include multi-colored pepper strips, fennel strips (so crunchy!), a mixture of fabulous olives, blanched broccolini spears or haricots verts, and endive leaves (they make great low-carb vessels for heavy dips/spreads). Sometimes I do a section of canned black olives for a retro touch and they are usually the first thing to get hoovered up! Dips vary but I am a blue cheese fan, so… :grin:

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Vindicated! (I’m gonna keep pretending people are mocking my love of canned black olives, even though no one is.)

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I would NEVER mock your love of any olive. I adore them all equally no matter how humble, and that includes the much-maligned canned black olive. They are just freaking GOOD!

While we cure our own and are critical of our as well as other’s olives, canned olives are one food you can scarf without judgment.

Ooops, there goes another can…,

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Always on the Sunday table growing up! My mother had a special crystal dish with dividers for the carrots, celery and black olives.
I really wish the trend were revived and a vegetable plate appeared instead of bread at all restaurants! (And I’m not averse to gluten:)

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Yes! Those trays were a thing. My grandmother’s was pressed glass.

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Melamine all the way!

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You can tell by the rust the last time I used this relish tray :blush:

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I’ve got one exactly like it! It was a wedding gift and if memory serves, I used it exactly once. Maybe I’ll polish it up and use it for T-Day this year. A perfect example of a throwback to an earlier era.

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That’s gorgeous! If I found it at an antique or thrift store near me, it’s right up my alley! (casting no aspersions on age, that’s just where I tend to find gorgeous things like this!)

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It’s probably been over 30 years since I last used it. My first wife, may she rest in peace, used to use it for entertaining.

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Yes, we did too. Mother’s was Fostoria. Usually celery, sometimes stuffed, black olives, radishes, green onions and gherkins.

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