Food for Thought: Spice up your party

Theme parties are a fun and inexpensive way to spend your Saturday night. When you think about it - considering the markup of alcohol at bars and the necessary cab rides home - hosting a BYOB-potluck shindig is a lot cheaper for everyone involved. All it takes is a little creativity, a bit of effort, and a guest list. The most difficult task when planning a party of this nature is trying to think up a theme around which you can coordinate your decor and food (and perhaps even, the clean-up after the party).

Last weekend, my housemate and I hosted our very own potluck at the “Oscars.” Each guest had to bring a food item that was inspired by one of the nominees for Best Picture. We had a spicy hummus and “sandbomb” pudding for The Hurt Locker, “catfood” chocolate mousse for District 9, “corn puff clouds” for Up in the Air, “superbowl veggie nachos” for The Blind Side, and finally, kosher dill pickles for A Serious Man. The party was a blast and the food, delicious! While The Oscars are over, there are still plenty of other ways to “spice” up your nightlife. If you're interested in hosting a theme party, but you're having trouble coming up with ideas, here are some recommendations:


Featuring the four elements: earth, air, fire and water, the dcor could consist of candles, vases filled with water, wind wheels/chimes, and sand gardens. Each of the element's classic colours (i.e.: blue for water, red for fire, grey or white for air, and brown or green for earth) could be incorporated by using pillows, blankets or tablecloths of these shades.

In terms of food, each guest could select an element to represent, and bring an inspired dish. Some potential platters could include: “mushroom tarts” or “spinach quesadilla squares” (for earth), “airy cotton candy” or “air-filled Aero bites” (for air), “fire-roasted red pepper dip”or “fiery black bean chili” (for fire), and “seafood soup” or “watermelon balls” (for water).

B & W
This party is an easy theme, as the colour scheme for dress and decor is obvious, yet very chic. While the food for this party would be a little trickier to think of, it is not within the realm of impossible. Some ideas could include: Oreo cookie cheesecake, white grapefruit and vanilla bean scallops with black sesame seeds, blackened catfish, squid-ink pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce, black and white bean salad, black olive tapenade with white baguette, and coconut ice cream with blackberry sauce.

Spring is in the Air
A party dedicated to the rich vibrant greens, crisp sky-blues, and sunny yellows, that represent the start of spring, is the perfect way to get out of those “winter blues. “With lively music and fun cocktails, you could really get that feeling of springtime in your very own living room. Foods for this kind of soiree would have to be fresh and light (unlike the heavy comfort foods we've all been eating for the past four months).

Here are some suggestions: honeydew melons, fresh mint mojitos, herb pitas with tomatillo salsa, and stuffed zucchini flowers with parsley and ricotta cheese. Additionally, tzatziki sauce always reminds me of a fresh spring/summer day, and you can guarantee that anything on the BBQ would fill your guests' senses with the essence of warm weather.

Whatever you decide to do for your theme, keep in mind what your guests will enjoy; simple themes seem to work best, at first. After all, you want to have fun!