The key to an amazing dinner party is not the food, but the experience. I like to not only meet expectations, but smash them. I will use a recent dinner party success as an example. And since this is such an important topic, instead of using regular photographs, this piece will be accompanied by the lovely artwork of Jon Hunter from pastramibasket. If you are not following his blog, you’re missing a vital part of art history. Now let’s go head and get started.
1. String Cheese Starter - Guests can either eat them in stick form, or peel them off in individual cheese layers. Not only is it nutritious, but it’s also entertaining. There’s nothing worst than bored guests. So by serving string cheese, you bypass any possibility of that altogether. Not to mention it’s a great metaphor for the guests themselves. Watch as they enter your home in cliquey groups, uptight and shy. Then as they start to eat and drink, they’ll begin to mingle. They’ll laugh about the cheese, and peel off the strings. Much like peeling off their own protective social shells.
2. First Course : Bologna Roll Ups - This is a quick and satisfying dish. Simply open the package of lunch meat (I prefer Oscar Mayer, but it’s up to personal preference). Take out an individual slice, roll it up, and then place a toothpick in the center. This will not only hold the meat together, but also act as a handle for the guests to grab. Trust me, it’s a win win. You’ll hear things like – “I haven’t had bologna since I was eight!” Or “I didn’t even know people still ate this”. See what’s happening here? You’re providing delicious food, and reminding them of childhood. Memories are one of life’s greatest gifts, and you’re providing them in bunches. And we haven’t even got to the second course yet!
3. Second Course : Mac n’ Cheese Paired With Hot Dogs - Mac n’ cheese is known around the world as great comfort food. Whether you’re eating it here, or in China. It always tastes delicious. Although good by itself, by adding hot dogs, you’re actually enhancing the flavors. Similar to eating wine with cheese. The combination of the two different flavors really bring out the nitrates, and the smell is to die for! If this course doesn’t have your guests mouth watering, then they’re probably aliens (the space kind).
4. Third Course : Chicken Tenders Paired with a Ranch or Honey Mustard Sauce - Poultry is delicious on it’s own of course. But to truly raise the flavors to new heights, one must dip it in batter and fry it in vegetable oil. The result, will be a piece of chicken that is not only tender, but also crunchy! Your guests may not be able to handle that many sensations at once. But if they can, I recommend a ranch or honey mustard dipping sauce. The cool temperature of the ranch balances well with the hot chicken. And the sweet of the mustard will taste amazing with the salty batter. You really can’t go wrong with either. Provide both if you want to show your guests that you go that extra mile.
5. Dessert : Pudding Cups - Now I’ve saved the best for last. If you’ve portioned out your courses correctly, your guests should have just enough room left for dessert. It will now be time to bring out the pudding cups. I recommend bringing out an assortment. Chocolate is a must, but a good vanilla chocolate blend is also popular. A third alternative like butterscotch, isn’t a bad idea either. People rarely have that option, and it also shows you have an affinity for the “old school”. It’s just classy, like Sinatra or Edgar Allen Poe. I prefer to serve them cold, so make sure to refrigerate them ahead of time. But some guests may want them room temperature, so leave a small number out.
That’s it! Follow this menu, and you’re guaranteed success!