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The Globe and Mail

The new dinner party 'cracker' isn't edible

Food styling by Heather Shaw/Judy Inc. (

Maya Visnyei for The Globe and Mail/maya visnyei The Globe and Mail

If there's one thing that can ruin a dinner party, it's crackers. So many appetizers are designed around these carby, bread-like wafers that it's hard not to be full by the time the salad is set before you.

A resourceful (and attractive) alternative: mussel shells.

They're the perfect vessel for serving saucy finger foods such as escargot, Asian-style fish balls or a simple piece of glistening sashimi in a wasabi sauce, such as the one shown here. The mollusk, which acts as a bowl and spoon at once, can be hoisted with one hand while the other holds a wine glass.

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To prepare the shells in advance, scrub them with soap and water and bake them in the oven on a rack at 275 F until dry. Best of all, they go straight into the compost when the appetizers are done.

Chef Michael Tong is the owner of Toronto's Sublime Catering.

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