potato skins
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21 Old-School Appetizers That We Still Secretly Love

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potato skins
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Deviled Eggs
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French Onion Dip
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Sausage Balls
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Sausage Balls

Particularly popular in the South, sausage balls have been a staple on holiday tables for decades. While there are endless variations, we're a fan of the most basic, three-ingredient version: a simple mix of sausage, cheddar cheese, and Bisquick.

Recipe: South Your Mouth

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Pigs in a Blanket
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Oysters Rockefeller
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Oysters Rockefeller

Ever since it was invented in New Orleans in 1899, oysters Rockefeller has been a mouth-watering staple at white-tablecloth restaurants and a reliable way to wow family and friends. Trivia for your next dinner party: The dish owes its existence to a shortage of French snails.

Recipe: What's Cooking America

Related: 15 Retro Dishes Making a Comeback at Restaurants

Pinwheels
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Pinwheels

This party-platter standby has taken many forms over the years, but one of its most dubious may have been this ham and peas mashup from the late 1940s. Today's less-involved concoctions involve cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, cheddar, and green onions.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Swedish Meatballs
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Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates
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Bacon-Wrapped Dates

You may know this "minor British institution" as devils on horseback, but whatever you call bacon-wrapped dates, they're the ultimate combination of savory and sweet. They're a close cousin of another famous retro appetizer, rumaki, which subs the dates for chicken liver.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Cheese Fondue
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Clams Casino
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Clams Casino

Thought to have originated in Rhode Island, clams casino can still be found all over New England at seafood shacks, high-end Italian restaurants and steakhouses, and everything in between. The decadence of bacon, bread crumbs, and bacon make them just as tasty as they are fancy.

Recipe: Fine Cooking

Pimento Cheese
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Ketchup: Garlic-Butter Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
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Shrimp Cocktail

Sure, shrimp cocktail's heyday may have long passed, but the appetizer has had such enduring popularity that we're not even sure if it qualifies as "old school." To make it as retro as possible, grab those martini glasses for a presentation that would please any '50s or '60s-era hostess.

Recipe: Bon Appetit

Cinnamon Apple Chex Mix
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Potato Skins
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Potato Skins

Few recipes have quite made the leap from restaurant darling to family favorite as well as potato skins. TGI Friday's claims to have pioneered the appetizer back in the'70s, and while you can buy them pre-made in all their cheesy, bacon-studded glory in the grocery's freezer section, homemade is still best — isn't it always?

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Watermelon Salad
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Watermelon Salad

We remember watermelon salad, made with mint, feta, and onions, showing up at practically every summer cookout. After all, it was refreshing and refreshingly easy — and it sure looked colorful on the table. Bonus points if you unearth your ancient melon baller to make it even prettier.

Recipe: Delish

Related: 10 Cheap and Easy Ways to Enjoy Watermelon

Cheeseball
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Cheeseball

Ah, cheeseball. To know it is to love it, even if it looks a little bit different to everyone. This darling of mid-century parties is endlessly versatile, with dozens of both sweet and savory versions floating around the internet. Our favorite: A simple combination of cream cheese, dried beef, and green onions.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Stuffed Celery
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Stuffed Celery

Practically everyone is familiar with ants on a log, or slathering celery with peanut butter and raisins in an effort to get your kid to eat something — anything — green. But long before this lunchbox staple was popular, its grownup counterpart was a popular appetizer, usually featuring a mixture of cream cheese, olives, garlic, and other seasonings.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Spinach Dip in a Bread Bowl
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Spinach Dip in a Bread Bowl

If your time machine drops you off in the 1980s, chances are it won't take long to find a bread bowl. It might have been filled with a chowder or bisque of some kind, but for family gatherings, putting some sort of creamy spinach dip inside was an easy way to please the masses.

Recipe: Taste of Home

chicken liver pate
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Chicken Liver Paté

Liver may have fallen out of favor in recent years, but it was a mid-century staple in many homes. Impress your guests with one of the easiest, tastiest, still-impressive ways to enjoy it: paté. We just suggest steering clear of any recipes involving gelatin.

Recipe: Food Channel

Mexican Layer Dip
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Seven-Layer Dip

This staple of Super Bowl parties and casual family cookouts has retained its popularity since exploding onto the appetizer scene in the early '80s. And really, why not: You get to plunge your tortilla chips into layers of sour cream, refried beans, cheese, salsa, and various veggies, depending on the recipe. We think we'll keep it around for another four decades.

Recipe: McCormick

Cheese Straws
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Cheese Straws

Another Southern standby, cheese straws are particularly dangerous addition to the appetizer table because it's easy to scarf down a half-dozen of them without even realizing it. Cheddar may still reign supreme as the most classic version of a classic recipe, but you can also try parmesan, blue cheese, or any other variety that strikes your fancy.

Recipe: Food and Wine