When I think of the 1950s—which I do often—I think of cocktail parties. It could be because I’m drinking an Amaretto Sour and listening to Frank Sinatra and Count Basie. Every cocktail party needs food. And in case you couldn’t tell from this book, there’s no easier party food than dip. Make this a day ahead to give yourself more time to cocktail with your guests.

Serves 4-8

1 cup dry (200 g) cannellini beans
4 cup (1000 g) water
4 (30 g) cloves garlic
2 tablespoons (6 g) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (5 g) thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon salt + more based on taste
1 cup reserved cooking liquid
Flat-leaf parsley, as needed (optional)
Pine nuts, as needed (optional)
Harissa powder, as needed (optional)

Add beans and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the beans are tender. Don’t test one bean and call it good! Some of them may cook faster than others. Sample at least 4 or 5 beans before making the call.

Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the beans and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Add the beans, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, and salt to a blender and blend until smooth. The dip should have the texture of toothpaste. Add the reserved cooking water to thin the dip as necessary. Taste, and season with more salt if needed.

To serve, transfer dip to a wide bowl. Make a well in the center of the dip and garnish with 2 to 4 tablespoons of really good olive oil. Garnish with chopped parsley, pine nuts, and a few shakes of harissa powder.