The key to an appetizer spread that looks as good at the end of cocktail hour as it did at the st art is a clever board game. Pick up inexpensive wooden plaques at a crafts store (the beveled edges are a nice touch), and brush them with linseed oil to seal the surfaces. Then arrange them like a gourmet puzzle, keeping crunchy, st icky, and delect ably st inky items apart (a piece of parchment underneath makes cleanup a Brie-ze). When the nuts are gone, whisk away the board, and keep playing until dinner is served.
THE DETAILS: Darice assorted wooden plaques, from $ 9.50 for six 3.5"- by- 5.5"; and Walnut Hollow wide- edge basswood rectangle, 11" by 14", $ 13, amazon.com.