foodie party

A Showering of Food and Drink: Tips for Hosting a Foodie Party

By / Photography By Carla Cook | May 29, 2014
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It starts with such good intentions. A friend announces their engagement, new house, baby on the way. You hear the words, “I would love to host a shower for you!” And then you realize that it was your voice. You know, the voice that other people can actually hear. Meanwhile, your inner voice — you know, the voice that has some sense — starts screaming, “What have I done?”

This fight between the part of you that feels excited about your offer and the part of you that thinks that you are out of your mind continues as you begin to make decisions. How? When? Where? And then it hits you: I need to start with a theme! Do you go with the theme that matches a darling outfit you just happen to have or one that lets you use that chip-and- dip set you had to have three years ago but never used? No, that would be silly. Maybe, just maybe, you can do the nice thing and discuss some options with the honoree.

Recently I found myself experiencing this exact scenario. A friend from work and her fella were the guests of honor. And though we discussed several themes, the couple is practical and didn’t want a stuffy affair with gifts of fine linens and crystal that would be packed away, never to see the light of day. We were going to have fun. (Plus, I might have mentioned a few too many times that I just happened to make some amazing apple pie moonshine.)

A new life together deserved a stocked bar. So, a “Stock the Bar” shower seemed like the perfect fit. The idea being that guests would bring gifts to create a fabulous bar — glasses, gadgets, cocktail napkins, liquor, wine, beer, mixers, etc. The soon-to-be newlyweds would be prepared to toast their nuptials with the best of them. Theme. Check.

I turned on my mad list-making skills, and I got to work.

The invitations were next. They had to be cute, but not too cute. I didn’t want the guys to be afraid to attend. I went with brown recycled paper, which just happens to look like a brown bag from a liquor store, and designed an invitation using several fonts to form the shape of a wine bottle. The wording on the invitation gave guests ideas for possible gifts. I can’t take credit for the bottle idea. Similar ones were all over the Internet, but nobody thought to put it on a brown bag before me, so there’s something. Invitations. Check.

Great parties need great food and drinks. Few things make an impact at a party as much as the food. I wanted to keep everything tied in with the “Stock the Bar” theme, and as luck would have it, I had several recipes in my collection that met this qualification. I served a bloody mary cocktail sauce with shrimp, beer-cheese dip, coconut rum pork tenderloin, and bourbon fruit dip paired with home-brewed beer, sangria, and my infamous moonshine. Soft drinks and bottled water completed the menu. Food and drink. Check. Check.

Assorted frames showcased labels for the food and beverages. Empty wine and liquor bottles became vases for a few flowers and some greenery from my mother’s yard. I used candles that looked like wine corks and more bottles as extra touches throughout the house and on tables outside. I also found candles made out of up-cycled liquor bottles. All of a sudden, the party would have never been complete without them. They were my splurge and perfect! Decorations. Check.

Last on the list was entertainment. Easy. I made sure to have a little music and invited dogs. Not kidding. Dogs are the best free entertainment in town.

This party was a smashing success, if I say so myself. At the end of the evening a special couple had a stocked bar (even a kegerator!), and they felt celebrated and loved by many family members and friends. Isn’t that what hosting a shower is all about? And, who knows? Maybe in a couple of years, we will get to host a “Stock the Diaper Bag!”

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