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The best caterers know that no two parties should be exactly alike. Fortunately for Mary Barber and Sara Corpening, the identical twins who are partners behind Thymes Two Catering in San Francisco's Pacific Heights, they have each other to count on for inspiration. The 28-year-old sisters have been working with food side-by-side since they were girls in High Point, North Carolina, and their mother would sit them down on the kitchen floor to separate eggs. Now they cook for a fast-moving, close-knit crowd in which the same 10 couples roam from party to party, and their challenge is to make each event unique.

Having trained together at cooking schools and restaurant kitchens in New York and California, the twins now have piles of recipes to draw on and a few unusual strategies. One is to organize parties around specific drinks--margaritas, say, or martinis. Asked to plan a cocktail party at the home of designers Vasilios Kiniris and Wendy Nishimura-Kiniris (who sell everything from dinnerware to decorative lighting at their Fillmore Street shop, Zinc Details), the sisters chose Pineapple Cosmopolitans as their jumping-off point. This drink makes a great match for most hors d'oeuvres, which tend to be salty or spicy. Its slightly sweet fruitiness cuts the heat in the Paprika Chips and the Goat Cheese Quesadillas and mutes the saltiness in the Blue Cheese Straws and the Oniony Cheese Puffs. And, of course, the drink is delicious on its own. 


Published June 1998


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