Cocktail rye was pretty common when I was growing up, but it's been a while since I've seen it. Maybe it's a regional thing. It's a small loaf, thinly sliced.
In our house, cocktail rye was typically served as the base for chopped chicken livers or cream cheese, always served open-faced, kind of like the untoasted rye version of crostini.
Most of the bread that came into our house was destined for very utilitarian sandwiches, so little bread seemed very fancy to me. Even if it was just a snack in front of the TV, cocktail rye felt like a party.
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About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.