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Ideas for 45th Birthday Party


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To my great surprise and dismay, I will be turning 45 in April. I would like to throw myself a little party with family and friends. My friends have told me that I should really do something special and they'll help.

I don't want to cook or I want stuff that I can cook ahead and freeze. Well, I love cooking, but I get carried away and make myself crazy. I'm not willing to get it full blown catered, but I'm open to farming out some of it. There will be wee little children so no stuff that is too weird or expensive that would be wasted on them. I do LOVE wine and will have some fancy beer and wine, especially after the little ones are in bed.

I have the cake covered - a friend who is a cake professional will do it. I have mixology covered - an accomplished friend is bringing over his bar and mixing. In terms of numbers, we're talking about 40 people coming in and out during the event at various times.

My husband mentioned a pot luck type thing. Have I really become so elderly that my invitations should mention that covered dishes are requested, like a church benefit?

Any ideas? Really I'm at a loss. I do small parties and large BBQs all the time, but this has me stumped.

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Dear Linda -- yes, you should definitely have a party to celebrate, and no, it's not a church supper or a wake so covered dishes shouldn't play a part here. And whatever you do, don't say No Gifts on the invitations. Go for it girl!

For a kicking-off place, remember who the party's for: you. What would you like to eat? I threw myself a fling for a birthday a few years ago -- one with a zero at the end -- and my menu was a sort of American Bistro buffet. My husband and I did all the cooking, much of it in advance, and it was delicious but not ambitious. Hmmm, what did I have?

Lobster rolls

Crab patties

Curried almond chicken salad on croissants.

Roasted veg couscous salad -- an enormous hit.

Mini beef tenderloin sandwiches with herbed mayonnaises

A stupendous cheese platter with fruit.

Veggie platter with hummous, raita, etc.

The cakes were great -- frozen in France courtesy of Trader Joe's as I remember.

And other lovely stuff I've forgotten.

Much of this was made ahead, or was easy to slap together at the last minute. I respect that you don't want to cook, but I reiterate: draw up your dream menu and figure out what's too fussy, what's manageable, and what you can get catered, frozen or supplied by your willing friends.

(Who cares about the kids? They get what they want on their birthdays, you get what you want on yours! I was astounded at how many lobster rolls a six year old can pound down, after I explained that no, I had no chicken strips or hot dogs.)

Edited to add: I'd love to read your dream menu.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel


A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites


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I just posted this suggestion on another thread, but I think it bears repeating here. When I catered my wedding party I took Maggie's approach and made my list of food I really wanted to indulge in. I wound up with a menu of cured meats, cheeses, roasted veggies, fruit, and a couple of cold salads. The thing that made the whole thing special, though, was the raw bar. We bought oysters (way too many) and already peeled shrimp and hired an oyster shucker. Aside from buying and storing all the ingredients, I barely had to cook anything and I really got to enjoy my party.

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I knew the eGulleteers would have the answer. How terribly obvious that I should do the foods I want! NEVER occurred to me.

Maggie, lobster is it. I moved to PA from New England 4 years ago and I miss lobster SO much. I now live in the land of the cheesesteak with a man who has never eaten fish of any kind. My mother, who passed in October, used to go to the fish market and buy a pound of lobster meat whenever she wanted to really treat herself. She'd gently heat it on the stove top, melt some butter, and that was dinner.

So lobster rolls on New England style hot dog rolls are on the menu. Before I moved out of New England, I didn't even know our rolls were special! This stuff can be made and sourced easily with no real cooking.

My mom's family was Polish and I greatly miss pierogis. Pierogis are everywhere here, but they aren't real authentic. They are potato in a pasta shell and deep fat fried. Pretty bland actually. Our pierogis normally had seasoned cabbage in them or potato with farmer's cheese. They are only pan fried or boiled, never deep fat fried. And no one here has ever heard of the most wonderful pierogi in the world - blueberry! There's a Polish deli about 20 minutes away. If they don't have them, I'll order from http://www.milliespierogi.com/.

That's all I've really decided on at this point. But I'm going to have a real hard think of the foods that are not only my favorites, but have a story and meaning for me - that represent parts of my life that I'd like to revisit. The kids are just going to have to deal with the lack of chicken nuggets.

Edited by LindaJ (log)
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I ordered pierogies from pierogies plus in PA for the holidays they were very good (almost like baba's) http://www.pierogiesplus.com One year I got the mini's and served them as appy's with sour cream (I also served cut up kielbasa w/mustard).

Rethink about having food for the kids, parents have a much better time at a party if the kids are happy. I usually make a tray of mac and cheese for the kids, and have cookies or cupcakes for them.

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A whole smoked salmon or honey glazed ham is good for partys or salmon topped with prawns, lime zest, lime juice and coriander and wrapped in filo is one of my mums party favourites, pretty easy to make and always looks impressive. A good cheeseboad with some chutneys and fruit is also a good idea and people can keep coming back for a nibble as are the meze/tapas style dips (hummus, tzatziki,babaganoush,guacamole) with vegetable crudites, pittas, crisps, stuffed vine leaves etc Or a warm bagna cauda with whole heads of celery, broccoli and cauliflower, artichokes, radishes, cherry tomatoes etc

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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