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Illegally Simple 1920s Appetizers

Updated: Jan 21

Famished people don’t find much funny. That is why an appetizer is essential for your Jazz Dinner. It satisfies your audience so that they may enjoy the musical performances and theater scenes before the main course.

It also buys you time as the main course is being prepared. The simple appetizers of the 1920s cook quickly, giving your kitchen staff some breathing room.

You can use each course of your Jazz Dinner as “food entertainment.” Your goal is to transport your patrons to the 1920s, from fedoras to fizzy drinks. The unfamiliar finger food of the 20s will pique your audience’s interest and make them look forward to future courses.

Let’s talk about the unusual appetizers you can serve at your Jazz Dinner.

Shrimp cocktails, olives, deviled eggs, and meatballs are all popular 1920s appetizers.

Tutti Fruitti Sandwich

An assortment of fruit shows what a powerful taste Tutti Fruitti is.

This taste has been an ice cream flavor for 160 years. Tutti Fruitti simulates a tornado of fruit explosions, and this flavor gives the entire party the feel of a speakeasy. However, finger food was prominent in the 1920s since everyone had a drink or cigarette in their hands. So, households invented the Tutti Fruitti Sandwich.


  • 1/4 cup dates

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1/4 cup walnuts

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream

  • 1/4 cup sugar


Chop the fruits and nuts in a food processor, then mix with the orange juice. Once evenly stirred, fold in the whipped cream and sugar. Then, serve this mixture between two thinly buttered slices of bread. Cut these sandwiches into triangles or circles for more visual interest.

Marinara Meatballs

A pan of meatballs which is an easy appetizer for Jazz Dinners.

During this period, meatballs became a staple because they were cheap to make but satisfied the carnivorous American taste buds. Most likely invented by the Italian immigrants who came to America between 1880 and 1920, the National Pasta Association printed the first recipe for spaghetti and meatballs in the early 1920s.

Meatballs in marinara sauce are a simple appetizer because the meatballs may be made ahead of time and kept warm in crockpots. And the smell! You can’t buy that in any candle store. For a simple recipe, check out Taste of Home’s website here.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are simple to serve at Jazz Dinners

Though these impish appetizers date back to Ancient Rome, deviled eggs became very popular in the 1920s. With the commercialization of mayonnaise and refrigerators entering every home, deviled eggs were advertised as fancy yet economical entertainment food. They are simple to make ahead and keep fresh in the fridge for up to a day.

They are incredibly convenient for Jazz Dinners because you don’t have to warm or prep them before serving. Garnished with paprika, chives, or Italian parsley, they look fantastic on silver trays.

For a good recipe, check it out here.

Crispy Cheese Wafers

Crispy Cheese Wafers were popular in the 1920s.

Next to meat, cheese was a second favorite food. Check out this crispy cheese wafer recipe that took prohibition homes by storm. This is a simple snack that you can enjoy one-handed with a dazzling cocktail in the other. You’ll need A LOT of cheese for this appetizer. In fact, the 1920s crowd also served this with cream cheese! Sorry, lactose-intolerant fanbase!

1920s Appetizers for Your Jazz Dinner

Unlike the period’s trademark oysters or stuffed mushrooms, the appetizers don't need to be extravagant. The foods must be unusual enough for the audience to have a new experience but easy enough for your kitchen staff. Luckily, the 20s are full of easy, edible food. And if you would like to add some exciting 1920s mocktails, we have fantastic recipes.

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