Tiny Food Party
Scene: Cocktail party. Room full of people trying to schmooze and network with each other. Me, standing in a corner, balancing my drink on a ledge or in my arms, avoiding eye contact with everyone while trying to eat a cheesesteak to prevent the instant drunk that comes after drinking on an empty stomach. Enter: Tiny Food Party, a book that has changed every party I’ll ever host again.
Bite-size versions of large foods are the best for cocktail parties or any situation where there isn’t enough room for all guests to eat with a knife and fork, and are way more substantial than baby carrots. We’re not talking pigs in a blanket, here. But I was still apprehensive about throwing a party out of a book based on small food because: 1) I don’t like following recipes 2) I was afraid my guests would be hungry 3) I was afraid my guests would eat too much and not get drunk (frequent problem among my group) and 4) I was afraid I’d spend the entire party in the kitchen cooking.
And you know, I feel like, in general, the reason people don’t use recipes or cookbooks more is because the recipes are long and involved, and always involve a list of ingredients that either a) I do not have or b) I don’t feel like buying for one recipe. Also? The thing about entertaining is that I like to actually *enjoy* my parties and talk to my guests, instead of being stuck in the kitchen pumping out food and carefully plating things, using recipes I am unfamiliar with. I know my friends love my food, but they love my company even more. So when I was planning my own tiny food party, I did a few things that I believe are successful to any entertaining situation.
1) Know your recipes: I used each recipe as a general guideline. Why? Because it was easier for me to make my standard potato salad than use their recipe.
2) Know yourself: Many of the recipes had to be modified for drunk cooking, because hello, I’m not saying sober at my own party.
3) Know your guests: I took the bacon out of everything. Sacrilege? Maybe. This book is absolutely wonderful in that everything includes bacon (from the BBQ sauce to the muffins), but I had a non-pork eater in the house. She’d never want me to modify my cooking for her, but then she just wouldn’t eat and would end up a drunk mess. Turns out she still ended up slapping my new boyfriend across the face, but whatever, at least it wasn’t my fault.
To test the real functionality of these recipes, appetizers and dinner were served without seating and with minimal utensils. The menu (the photos get worse as the night progressed, deal with it):
Tiny Apple Cider Sangria
I thought it would be cute and fun to have one tiny cocktail in little cups. Upon my guests’ arrival I tried to serve them mini apple cider sangrias—not in the book, but most of the drink recipes were for summer. I was really excited about this shit, but all my friends flat-out refused. “Do you want a mini apple cider sangria?” “Um, no, I want a full size.” Pictured: me making full size drinks out of my tiny ones.
Mini Caprese Skewers
Spinach Dip Cups
This was a hybrid of a few recipes—the Tiny Food Party gals recommend using wonton wrappers baked in a mini muffin tin for a lot of their recipes, so I figured why not extend it to my favorite party app, spinach dip? This is going to be my new party standby—every dip in wonton wrapper cups!
Pulled Pork Sliders
Potato Salad Cups
Another wonton wrapper recipe—instead of using the book’s potato salad recipe, I just used my own (the one I have memorized). These were strangely to die for.
Apparently Grandma’s meatloaf recipe is not dense enough to stay on a toothpick. My god did these fall apart everywhere. Did my friends eat them anyway? Of course they did. Unfortunately this broke my “no utensils” rule, but it was kind of my fault anyway for not using the actual recipe.
Mac and Cheese Cups and Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
These were both big departures from the recipes for two reasons. For the pizzas: by the time I went to make these, I was DRUNK. They were supposed to look like little pizza puffs, instead this happened. Whatever. They were still good. For the mac and cheese: The recipe calls for a bunch of cheeses I didn’t have (and were kind of expensive), and also tells you to fry these. Unfortunately, one of my drunk cooking rules is NO FRYING when drunk, so instead, I put the mac and cheese into a mini-muffin tin and baked them for 10 or so minutes. I also used cheddar and American cheeses so they were extra creamy. YUM.
Verdict: Success. My friends were able to eat, drink, and mingle without sitting down, and didn’t eat so much that they weren’t able to get drunk. And people didn’t skip eating for drinking and get too drunk too quickly (there is such a thing). I really hope tiny foods are going to be making appearances at the plethora of holiday parties I’ll be attending in the next few months, so I don’t find myself googling “how to improve liver function” on December 15th, before I even have had the chance to think about New Years Eve. Party on ESers.