Turn having people over into a casual affair—and make it look good, too.
Join professional food stylist, ATK cast member, and entertaining enthusiast Elle Simone Scott as she shares her tips for creating photo-worthy spreads, letting you in on trade secrets ranging from plating techniques to how she keeps things looking fresh on set (and all party long). Across 35 boards you’ll find over 150 of ATK’s foolproof recipes to build your board around or add that special homemade touch, from a platter-worthy Steak Frites to better-than-storebought dips, and everything in-between.
These days, a grazing board is so much more than just cheese and cured meat—it’s an interactive and low-key yet elegant way of presenting food. Show off your effortless entertaining style with showstopping conversation-starting spreads that are sure to impress your guests.
Become an expert in stylish presentation: Elle gives tips with every recipe, letting you in on trade secrets like making the perfect cocktail garnish, how to swoosh hummus and dips with confidence, and how she keeps food looking fresh on set (and all party long).
Gain confidence with the classics: Charcuterie and cheese board how-tos in the introduction help you achieve the perfect balance of texture, flavor, and visual appeal. With tips on arranging and ways to take your boards to the next level, you'll have an appetizer that looks as good as it tastes.
Take boards beyond cheese and crackers: Push the boundaries of what a “board” is with ideas like a customizable baked potato and DIY Bloody Mary board, or grilled vegetable platter, proving that all different kinds of food are more fun when served as a board. And it's more than just snacks—even the grazing boards are hearty enough for dinner.
Full-spread photos help you straddle the line between elegant and casual: The photography is both aspirational and inspirational; follow our tips to replicate it exactly or use it as a jumping-off point for your own creation.
Choose your level of involvement: Whether you’re in the mood to cook or you'd rather pick everything up at the grocery store (or something in between) we provide recipes with suggestions for store-bought alternatives.
About the Author
America's Test Kitchen publishes award-winning cookbooks, along with Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines and produces public television's top-rated shows, America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country. It is a very real 15,000 square-foot kitchen located in Boston's Seaport district and is home to more than 60 test cooks, editors, and tasting and testing experts.
"A mood board for one’s food board is served up in this excellent guide from Scott, executive editor at America’s Test Kitchen. Her aim to is to offer an “interactive and low-key yet elegant way of presenting food,” and she succeeds in spades. In writing that is amiable and concise, Scott walks readers through the basics, advising them on how to choose a board type (charcuterie, crudités, DIY), use household items such as muffin tins and cake stands for displays, and “take things from simple to special” by adding flourishes such as smearing condiments with the back of a spoon. Most helpful is an informal set of board “rules” that emphasize the importance of having a unifying theme and a focal point, and balancing store-bought items with easy homemade dips. While cheese and meats are covered, it’s the unexpected options—among them, a stellar breakfast taco spread, a martini board for the ages, and a hearty Oktoberfest platter—that steal the spotlight. Sweets are also given their due with fun themes such as chocolate fondue and cookie decorating, and a dessert cheese board accented with grilled peaches. Maximalists, meanwhile, will devour Scott’s “level up” tips, like elevating one’s bruschetta with port-caramelized onions and washing down the nacho board with micheladas. This has instant classic written all over it." -- Publisher's Weekly
"One of our editors’ picks for the Best Cookbooks of 2022 so far is Elle Simone Scott’s Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings. A food stylist and America’s Test Kitchen cast member, Scott goes way beyond cheese, fruit, and meat (though, of course, there are beautiful boards for these too) including this recipe for a seafood theme that is eye-catching, delicious, and perfect for hosting a group of friends or family this summer or any time of year." -- Amazon Editor, Seira Wilson