There are some edible items that do not fit these sugary tabs but still manage to steal the show at the appetizers table at parties. Trusty buttermilk pancakes. Rich, moist, cheddary cornbread. The medley of flavors found in the black bean, corn and avocado dip (BBCA dip).

Each of these has a time and place. I wouldn't take a stack of pancakes to a barbeque but I have a blast cooking breakfast the morning after a night out for friends or as breakfast for dinner. In my family, pancakes are a tradition. Every Monday when I was growing up, my mom baked us pancakes. As I grew older, I realized that they could be taken beyond butter and syrup. These buttermilk pancakes serve as the perfect canvas for condiments and add-ins. My favorites include:

Pancake breakfasts/dinners make great socials; encourage everyone to bring their favorite topping to share, supply the pancake batter, and allow people the opportunity to create their own mix.

Cornbread and BBCA dip are equally as delicious but serve another purpose; they are easy to take to parties, picnics, barbeques and cookouts. A hot bowl of chili is not complete without cornbread (too much like a brownie without ice cream) and BBCA dip serves as a great accompaniment to a well-dressed burger.


This cornbread has been heralded as "good" to "the best cornbread I've ever eaten" (the first was a friend at a tailgating party recently and the second was a Baptist Campus Ministry leader). But in my opinion, I know that I will eat it cold for breakfast, lunch and dinner (we store it in the fridge).

Also, take note of the crusty edges. They may look a little burnt, but that's the beauty in this recipe. The edges soak in the melted butter (gasp!) and become a crispy, coveted part of the cornbread.