On a rather crowded buffet table, what to be softened, cool in an ice bath, slice if desired,
could be better than a centerpiece that also func- bag by type and refrigerate. Prepare dips. An hour
tions as a food station? before the party, distribute the numerous lettuce
Start with a dress rehearsal. Lay out the serving heads to act as filler in the basket. Drape lettuce
platters around the buffet table and then measure leaves over the cans and position peppers on top.
the space left vacant in the table’s center. Then search Group the vegetables and snuggle slightly into the
the house for a handled basket to fit the space, the leaves of the lettuces, always considering colors
bigger the better. Clean the basket, line it with plastic, and textures. Add the dip.
and add two or three cans that are taller than the The basket should appear to be bursting,
basket and numerous others that are slightly shorter so if there are thin spots, fill them with flowers,
than the basket. more lettuce leaves, greens and even garden
The shopping list should include whole heads herbs. Twine ivy around the basket’s handle and
of curly lettuces, red, yellow and orange bell peppers into the arrangement.
(one for each dip), baby carrots, radishes, small During the party, replenish as necessary.
mushrooms, celery, asparagus, snap peas, broccoli,
cauliflower, string beans, tiny cooked potatoes,
hardy flowers, ivy and the ingredients for two or
three favorite dips.
On the day before the party, clean the lettuces,
leaving most of them whole. Hollow out the peppers,
wrap and refrigerate. Blanch any vegetables that need