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Arancini bubble up as versatile appetizer

The small-bite rice balls enjoy growing appeal on restaurant menus

The rise of the appetizer, the familiar small bite that often works hand-in-glove with beverage consumption, precisely paralleled the rise of casual-dining chains. Referred to as “fern bars” back in the day to reflect the foliage that was intrinsic to their decor, brands like TGI Fridays and Bennigan’s introduced Baby Boomers to the delights of shareable, moderately priced and tasty items like baked potato skins and fried cheese sticks to accompany their Harvey Wallbangers.

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