Comfort Food to Bring for Any Occasion

With every invitation received, from a dinner to backyard barbecue, the first question you ask is “What can I bring?” Now you have the answer.

Kara Rota
2-minute read
Episode #174

what can i bring by elizabeth heiskellElizabeth Heiskell is a Southern girl who knows not to show up to a moving day, birthday brunch, or any other event empty-handed. She's also been catering for 25 years, so she has tons of tips and tricks for getting food from one place to another in one piece and still looking good.

Elizabeth's new book, What Can I Bring? Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Up, is organized by situations that many of us find ourselves in—there’s a new baby, or we’ve been invited to someone’s house for the weekend, or someone we care about is sick. We all know at this point that there’s not much use in asking a dinner party host, “What can I bring?”—more likely than not, they’ll say, "nothing!" This book begins to answer those questions for readers. 

Bonus Recipe: Daddy’s Bloody Marys

All Southern girls think their daddies make the best Bloody Mary. I am no exception.When we were growing up, as soon as Daddy left the Baptist church on Sunday morning, he would head straight for the kitchen to make up this wonderful concoction.

Serves 6  |  Hands-On 10 minutes  |  Total 10 minutes

  • 4 cups vegetable juice
  • 3⁄4 cup fresh lime juice (from 7 limes)
  • 1⁄4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (12 ounces) vodka
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • Lime wedges
  • Celery stalks
  • Pickled okra spears
  • Spicy pickled green beans

Combine the vegetable juice, lime juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a pitcher. Stir in the vodka just before serving. Sprinkle the celery salt on a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of each glass; invert glasses onto celery salt so salt adheres to rim of glasses. Fill each glass with ice and about 1 cup vegetable juice mixture. Garnish with the celery stalks, pickled okra spears, and spicy green beans.

This is my favorite hostess gift. Most hostesses who are getting ready for a lovely party have been running around all day, hardly had time to eat a bite of food, and it’s doubtful she’s gotten her eight glasses of water. There are pillows to fluff, children to yell at for using the guests’ towels in the bathroom, scented candles to strategically place to hide the wet dog smell, and when you combine all of this, you have one hell of a hangover on your hands! This is the perfect remedy and a most-wanted gift in an adorable basket. In the basket, place a bottle of Bloody Mary Mix, bottle of vodka, limes, pickled okra, BC Powder, Rolaids, and coconut water...Hangover Helper!!

Excerpted from What Can I Bring? by Elizabeth Heiskell. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.


About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.

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