Going green is no longer just a trend, it’s the norm. So create a sustainable dinner party. Find ingredients at your local farmer’s market, or if you are a member of a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) organization, use the produce from from your weekly box in the menu. Adorn the house with fresh flowers from your garden instead of buying some from a store. Light beeswax candles, and use cloth napkins instead of paper. Find ways to create as little waste as possible at the end of the night: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Here’s a simple way to integrate a theme into your night. Pick a color – one that fits the season, or complements the decor of your home. Have a couple things on the table match your color theme – the centerpiece, the napkins. Pick flowers in your color of choice. Then, the color theme can be integrated into the food and cocktails, too. For a special touch – wear a headband or jewelry that fits with the color palette. A popular way to carry out this theme is to do a Black and White dinner party – where guests must come wearing only those two colors. A Black and White dinner party is great for a fancier meal.
Cut meat out of the menu, or if your feeling adventurous, cut all animal products out. This isn’t an opportunity to “convert” all of your guests to a new diet, but a dinner party is a fun environment to experiment with a new style of eating. Make sure that you have enough variety in your menu to keep things exciting, and learn what you can about these diets, so you can provide useful information to your guests, as well as good food. If you happen to have a guest or two who is actually vegan or vegetarian, have them share their experience with the diet during dinner.
Explore another culture with an Ethnic Foods theme dinner party. It’s most fun if you try the food from a culture that most of your guests are unfamiliar with. Korean food, Thai, Chinese, even Ethiopian. Do a little research, and find decorations that are native to the country of your choosing: hang paper lanterns if you’re doing Chinese cuisine, place elephant figurines around the table and use banana-leaf placemats if you’re serving Thai. Find music from the culture to serve as your soundtrack for the night.
Movies, Books, Plays
If you find that a group of your friends shares a favorite book or movie, plan a dinner party that pays homage to it. It helps if the book or movie you choose has a food theme, or memorable scenes where characters are eating. For example, when I think of “The Chronicles of Narnia”, Turkish Delight comes to mind. Or the book (also a movie) “Julia & Julia” is all about the recipes of Julia Child. If you happen to have a book group, even better. Pick a book with your future dinner party in mind. For sweet tooths, the novel (also a film) “Chocolat” is about a female chocolatier…