Using edible containers to serve up food is eye-catching and

impressive. If you're creative with the containers or packaging,

guests are likely to appreciate that as much as the contents

themselves. Broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkins, and gourds make

exceptional containers for dips and more.


Broccoli makes a lovely container for dips. Choose a nice, full head

and cut the stem near the base to keep it from tilting. Carve a

hollow in the top of the head to insert a small, clear, glass bowl.

This bowl will keep the dip from oozing through the stems.


Cauliflower is a great, dense vegetable that you can hollow out and

fill with a colorful dip. Cut the stem so that the cauliflower sits

level on the platter. Then carve a crater in the top with a knife. If

the cauliflower is dense enough and there are no spaces between

florets, spoon the dip directly into the hollow. If the head is not

solid, insert a small clear glass bowl to hold the dip. Place the

whole head on a platter and surround with crudités, such as carrots,

peppers, zucchini, and broccoli. Don't forget to use the florets you

remove from the cauliflower as additional crudités.


Think of this type of squash as more than a Halloween decoration. A

smaller pumpkin makes a great container for all sorts of foods,

including salsa. You can also use a bigger pumpkin for a more

dramatic presentation. Just carve off the lid with a knife like a

Halloween jack-o-lantern. You don't have to remove all the strings

and seeds, however. You can use the pumpkin to hold a small amount of

food by simply inserting a small bowl in the opening. You can also

use the bowl to keep gifts like spiced nuts dry and away from the

moisture of the pumpkin's insides. The diminutive cousin of the

pumpkin is Jack Be Little. You can hollow out a few of these cute

little squashes to hold a variety of foods. Remove the strings and

seed so that you can spoon the salsa directly into the Jack Be Little.

Red cabbage

If you can find a red cabbage with the outer leaves still attached,

it can make a pretty display. As with some other vegetables, you may

have to carve out a hollow with a knife. Then insert a clear glass

bowl to hold the dip and to prevent any leakage. A pretty alternative

is the Savoy cabbage, which is a crinkly version of the regular green


Talk to the produce department people in your supermarket and ask

them to save you a cabbage that hasn't had the outer leaves removed.


One of the most fascinating squashes around is the gooseneck squash.

It fully lives up to its name, with a long curving neck and a bulbous

base. Lay it on its side and cut out a cavity with a knife in the

thick bulbous base. Slice a section of the roundest part of the

bottom of the squash to keep it from rolling. Pile it with a tasty

treat, like marinated olives. Depending on the size of the base, it

may not hold a lot, but the overall presence is decorative and

impressive. Squash are available during the late summer and fall.

And, of course, some old standbys are more readily available year-

round, including acorn and butternut.