Review: Denise Gee’s Southern Appetizers

I’m a big fan of all flavors Southern. That’s why I picked up Denise Gee’s Southern Appetizers: 60 Delectables for Gracious Get-Togethers. Now, truth be told, I didn’t get the book thinking about tablescapes or entertaining a crowd. Me, I’m after the food. But, that being said, this book has a lot more than just recipes. There are tips for planning for parties and being the perfect host. The book is well-written, clear, easy to follow, and packed with fantastic photos.

From there we get into the food, starting with the easy-to-eat handheld dishes. There are recipes for all of the classics, such as deviled eggs and finger sandwiches. The fanciful cheese straws looked so great that I made them that day. They came out fantastically!

Next up are spreads, including, of course, a great version of pimento cheese, Anita’s favorite. From salsas, to dips, to great spreads for crackers, this section of the book has great recipes that really are not difficult to make at all. I bookmarked a good many of the pages in the spreads!

The next part of the book is a bit more serious. It’s the grab a plate, some utensils, and sit-down-and-eat section. There is lighter fare, such as salads, tarts and soups. But then there are also (my favorites) meaty dishes. Wings, riblets, brisket, and baked ham, for example. And the peppered beef tenderloin just makes me drool. It is on my short list of dishes to make, along with the crawfish beignets

Next up: the drinks. And lots of awesome drinks. The book covers everything you need to throw a party, and that means drinks too of course.

This brings us to the last chapter, party themes. Denise Gee does all the work for you, whether you want to throw a New Year’s Eve get-together, a Mardis Gras-themed event, or just having a casual tailgating party. Every recipe you need for the party is listed, all designed to work together in a cohesive theme.

All in all I was quite happy with Southern Appetizers: 60 Delectables for Gracious Get-Togethers. I found it easy to follow, with accessible recipes and with great photos. Many of the dishes make me think of a great Sunday brunches or get-togethers in the South. My only wish is that there were more pictures because they really were fantastic.

Southern Appetizers: 60 Delectables for Gracious Get-Togethers¬†rates high on my ‘Mater Rater.

'Mater Rater
For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Sriracha Oyster Cracker Bites

After making (and devouring) a big batch of my Sriracharitos (Sriracha-flavored tortilla chips) the other day, I still had Sriracha snacks on the brain. I noticed a bag of oyster crackers in the pantry, so the next step was pretty obvious: Sriracha oyster cracker bites. Easy to make, and addicting as anything you can imagine. A great crunch and of course, a little Sriracha kick. Don’t like a lot of heat? Just cut back on the amount of spice mix. But, I think more is definitely better on these snacks.

Sriracha Oyster Cracker BitesIf you love oyster cracker snacks, check out my spicy version, or the barbecue, ranch, or nacho cheddar bites. Or my all-time favorite, mini-churro oyster crackers. Did I mention how much we love oyster cracker snacks?

Sriracha Oyster Cracker Bites

Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5 cups
Author Mike


  • 1 12 ounce bag oyster crackers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons Sriracha salt or rub


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Place crackers in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with oil.
  • Add Sriracha salt or rub and toss to coat evenly.
  • Place crackers on a large baking pan and bake 15 minutes.
  • Turn crackers over and bake another 10 minutes.
  • Serve warm or cooled.