Jun 102012
 

It was the newly six-year-old’s birth­day party yes­ter­day. I booked a pack­age at a loc­al com­munity centre that provides party lead­ers, games for 45 minutes in a gym, and a private room with tables and chairs for lunch and cake after the games. The party lead­ers did all the dec­or­at­ing and clean-up after­wards, as well! I organ­ized most of the food for the ran­dom assort­ment of around 20 kids, aged between 4 and 6, and their par­ents. Which meant provid­ing stuff the kids would eat, and stuff the par­ents would eat.

One thing I dis­covered a couple of years ago: most kids love grape toma­toes and sug­ar snap peas, even if some insist on open­ing the lat­ter and only eat­ing the mini­ature peas inside. Those all dis­ap­peared quickly again. The cheesy crack­ers went, the grain+seed gluten-free crack­ers were mostly ignored. The adults loved the walnut-olive tapen­ade (recipe from Eat Like a Dino­saur: Recipe & Guide­book for Gluten-free Kids) but the kids mostly ignored it. They went for the mini bagels with straw­berry cream cheese instead; the occa­sion­al kid pre­ferred the the plain cream cheese. My hus­band made 70 small chick­en keb­abs which I paired with the “not pea­nut sauce” almond-butter based satay sauce from Paleo Com­fort Foods: Homestyle Cook­ing for a Gluten-Free Kit­chen (since there are a few kids with pea­nut aller­gies in the group). Some of the kids ate the keb­abs, the par­ents ate a lot, and the remain­ing few were pol­ished off by the party help­ers after the kids and par­ents had had their fill. I also made carrot-beetroot frit­ters (those are beets for you North Amer­ic­ans), which the par­ents liked and the kids mostly ignored. I thought they were good, and even bet­ter with a dol­lop of tzatziki on them.

For dessert we had store-bought mini­ature cook­ies, and my son made marsh­mal­low lol­li­pops. Let’s see, sug­ar, coated with sug­ary white chocol­ate and dipped in even more sug­ar? What 6-year-old could res­ist? Very few, as it turned out, although a couple of kids in the group don’t really like sweet things and turned down the marsh­mal­lows. These were the same kids who turned down birth­day cake after­wards.

The birth­day cake was a basic minimal-flour chocol­ate cake, with lots of frost­ing and sprinkles. I like these basic cake recipes; they’re the sort where when the cake is almost done you can turn off the oven and leave it overnight to fin­ish and cool down. Light sponges that need pre­cise tim­ing are too much work I find; things hap­pen and I don’t get back to the oven in time and they’re dry and hor­rible. A dense, rich cake has a lot more lee­way in terms of bak­ing, and a small piece goes a long way as well.

After­wards, the kids all piled out the door to the lawn out­side the com­munity centre and ran around for half an hour, a lovely end to a fun party. As I’m writ­ing this, my daugh­ter is hav­ing a long nap, recov­er­ing from all the excite­ment! And we still have lots of cake, satay sauce, and a few frit­ters in the fridge.

  One Response to “Party Food”

  1. Your array of food was amaz­ing, and thought­ful of what kids like, a bit of what they should eat, and things they really want to eat, and provided for those with any food prob­lems. Con­grat­u­la­tions. Way back years ago it was just a cake and ice cream and cold lem­on­ade or a soft drink, bal­loons and some games and sel­dom more than five or six kids. I doubt I could have man­aged a big event like you did.

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