Spider Bread Bowl for a Crowd:Begin with an unsliced 8-inch round loaf of bread — you pick the variety. Horizontally slice off the top third of the loaf to create a round of bread; set aside.
Scoop the soft bread out from inside the loaf leaving about 1/2 inch of shell (use the bread for dipping, croutons or fresh breadcrumbs).
Place the scooped loaf, which is the body of the spider, on a large platter. Place the top of the loaf resting on the edge of the loaf but hanging off onto the plate as the head of the spider.
For legs, begin with eight long thin carrots. Trim each carrot to 7 1/2 inches long measured from its pointed tip.
Measure 4 1/2 inches from the tip and cut the carrot in 2 pieces (the second piece should be 3 inches long). Take two toothpicks and insert one in each end of the 3-inch carrot piece so about half the toothpicks are secure in the carrot while the other half of each toothpick protrudes.
Working with the other piece of carrot, slice its cut end at a 45 degree angle.
Take your piece of carrot with toothpicks and insert the toothpick projecting from the thinner end of the carrot straight into the end of the angled piece of carrot. When the two pieces meet and are secured by the toothpick, gently bend the toothpick (it should crack but not break) to form a leg with an angle in it.
Insert the toothpick at the other end of the carrot leg into the side of the scooped bread loaf. Repeat to make and place a total of eight carrot “legs.”
Use black olives, stuffed green olives, slices of plum tomatoes or whatever you like to create a spider face on the top of the loaf. Secure to the top with toothpicks.
Now you can fill your bread bowl with whatever you like: spinach dip, cheese dip, tuna fish salad, whatever. If at serving time you want to serve it as a sandwich, replace the top of the loaf over the fillings and cut into wedges.
You can reach Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley at firstname.lastname@example.org.