When hosting cocktail or dinner parties on her television show, chef Ina Garten advises viewers to serve a first course of finger foods, including store-bought olives, mixed nuts and maybe prosciutto-wrapped figs. She saves most of her homemade efforts for making entrees. It's good advice. With holiday party season fast approaching, our panelists plan to try Ina's suggestions for easy appetizers, starting with olives. We sampled eight brands of jarred, pitted kalamata olives from local grocery store shelves.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent