Party food is a category all its own that brings to mind greasy, salty, and sweet food all at once. Most celebrations settle for chips, dip, and maybe a mixture of random cold cheeses and crackers: some of the most boring foods out there! Instead of the following convention and throwing another chip bowl on the counter, consider these three ways to be inventive and fresh!
New Age Nostalgia
Think about the classics that matter to you. Which foods feel inseparable from your memories and thoughts, and how can you bring them forward into a fun party food? Would you want to make mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? You can mix them up with bacon jam and special bread and peanut butter cut into bite-sized pieces. Take any part of your younger years or culture, and mix it up to pleasantly surprise guests. The most nostalgic foods Americans think about are cereals they ate as kids, quick lunch, or after-school snacks like pizza bagel bites and plastic-wrapped snack cakes. Use these basic ideas to create exciting and inspired new snacks!
If you’ve been on YouTube or PrimeVideo in the last five years, you’ve probably been advertised on the series Hot Ones, a competition where guests have to try and see how much heat they can handle while eating hot wings. You can take this idea and run with it, making the whole meal a kind of competition. Using chicken wings would be preferred, but any type of chicken nugget or strip would work! Offer stations and prizes for anyone who can handle the spicier foods and compete out of them. The competition will make your party more lively and fun, while the hot sauce will give them an excuse to drink a little faster and have a little more fun.
Veering away from spice and nostalgia and back into classic party foods, you could take this opportunity to shop as locally as possible. Go for local brands, meaning companies that don’t ship nationally, and build a meal out of local flavors! This could mean craft beers from neighboring cities or pizza from a Mom and Pop’s pizzeria from down the street. Try out a lot of local restaurants before you settle on one or two so you can be sure whether or not they’re the perfect fit.
You could take this down an alternatively healthier route, going is more fresh foods, but parties are a time to cut loose! Even if you end up thumping watermelons at a farmer’s market, you can make fun vodka spiked watermelon slices to snack on. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and wander out from under the shadow of party foods from the past. You’re creating a new and exciting layout of snacks and dishes, and the main point is to surprise your guests and have fun with it! After all, it’s a party! If all else fails, you can order pizza and pour some soda!