Because food is a social lubricant too
August 27, 2017 7:04 PM   Subscribe

What are some traditional feasts or food-centric social events which: (1) follow a familiar and establishment menu or format; (2) are typically undertaken by a group of friends and family (rather than a restaurant or professional cooks); and (3) are known by name (such that you could say "we're going to a $TYPE_OF_FOOD_EVENT on Saturday", and your audience would know exactly what sort of dishes you'll be eating and how they'll be served)? I'm thinking of things like clam bakes, pig pickins, or even fondue parties: traditional formats for informal social gatherings, centered around food.

Obviously, many traditional holiday meals qualify (and are welcome as answers) – but I guess I'm also hoping to learn about types of feasts that people prepare just because they want to get a bunch of friends together and have a fun, tasty time (such as the clam bake).

Answers from all cuisines and cultures will be appreciated!
posted by escape from the potato planet to Food & Drink (67 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Shrimp boil
Dim sum
posted by jcatus at 7:10 PM on August 27, 2017

Definitely Chinese or Taiwanese hot pot.
posted by limeonaire at 7:11 PM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanksgiving dinner, Passover seder.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 7:14 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by lollusc at 7:16 PM on August 27, 2017

Tea party
Wine tasting
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 7:16 PM on August 27, 2017

Church bean supper.
posted by Sukey Says at 7:18 PM on August 27, 2017

Pancake breakfasts are a fundraiser thing that churches and community organizations do. There's, you know, pancakes. Also usually eggs and bacon. But they're not restaurant food, just volunteers cooking homestyle stuff en masse.
Also, Friday Night Fish Fry is in a similar vein. Often fire departments or legion halls do those.
In Brazil, there's a traditional meal called a Feijoada. The Feijoada itself is a bean and offal stew, but there are also traditional accompaniments that go with the meal.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:21 PM on August 27, 2017

posted by mzurer at 7:22 PM on August 27, 2017

Sunday Roast (typically British/Australian)
posted by quinndexter at 7:26 PM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Dutch colonialism in Indonesia gave rise to the Rijsttafel - literally "rice table", a huge spread of Indonesian dishes accompanied by rice. They seem to also be held by restaurants and hotels, but in my Dutch-Indonesian family, it was normal for our grandmother to invite the whole extended family over to her house for a rijsttafel, which she would spend days preparing for.
posted by embrangled at 7:26 PM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

dinner party

Irish wake
posted by amtho at 7:34 PM on August 27, 2017

Cheese plate party / cheese tasting


posted by Ahniya at 7:38 PM on August 27, 2017

Backyard barbecue
posted by Mchelly at 7:38 PM on August 27, 2017

New Zealand has the Hangi, a Maori tradition where food is buried in the ground and cooked using stones heated by fire. Hangi are usually big events where family and friends come together - it takes many hands to prepare the food baskets and dig the pit, and then there's plenty of time to stand around talking while you wait for the food to cook.
posted by embrangled at 7:39 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

beef & beer
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:41 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

pizza party, ice cream social,bagel breakfast, football wedding (sandwiches)
posted by eeek at 7:43 PM on August 27, 2017

Feast of the Seven Fishes
Easter ham
posted by TwoStride at 7:44 PM on August 27, 2017

Cocktail party

Tea party
posted by gudrun at 7:45 PM on August 27, 2017

A luau!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:55 PM on August 27, 2017

Crab boil (Marylander here).
posted by deludingmyself at 7:56 PM on August 27, 2017 [2 favorites]



Sausage sizzle.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:05 PM on August 27, 2017

Pancake and sausage breakfast - a classic fundraising event for amateur cooks in groups across the nation

Also fish dinner and spaghetti supper
posted by rw at 8:05 PM on August 27, 2017

Quebec: cabane à sucre (sugar shack)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:18 PM on August 27, 2017

Corn roast
posted by bethnull at 8:34 PM on August 27, 2017

This might not be quite what you're looking for, but a progressive dinner is a variation of a potluck.

is a type of stew that serves as the focus of gatherings in parts of the midwest and south, specifically Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.

Friday fish fries have been mentioned, but to be more specific, in my experience, that's very much a Catholic Church thing during Lent. When I was a child, Catholics did not eat meat on Friday throughout the year, but at some point, that was changed so that the rule only applies during Lent.
posted by FencingGal at 8:34 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Christmas in July
Champagne breakfast
High tea
posted by Naanwhal at 8:38 PM on August 27, 2017

I'd say that a Superbowl party is mostly known for food at this point...
posted by hydra77 at 8:45 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Crawfish boil
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:57 PM on August 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oyster Roast
Chicken Bog (rice boiled with chicken, sausage, celery, onions, spices; lots of Texas Pete on top)
posted by sara is disenchanted at 9:02 PM on August 27, 2017

Pizza party.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:03 PM on August 27, 2017

Pig roast (similar to pig pickin, but no barbecue sauce element involved, Midwest region)
posted by epj at 9:25 PM on August 27, 2017

Definitely seconding Taiwanese hot pot. It's so great and so easy. Seriously about as simple as ordering a pizza and way more fun.
posted by potrzebie at 9:43 PM on August 27, 2017

Swedes will gather for both a surströmming (fermented herring) party and for a kräftskiva (cold, dill-boiled crayfish). Each have side dishes that are specific and for the crayfish there are hats and bins and lanterns and for the herring there are superstitions and family ways of doing things.
posted by Iteki at 9:45 PM on August 27, 2017

Latke party at Chanukah.
posted by brujita at 9:45 PM on August 27, 2017

Khash party.
posted by potrzebie at 10:03 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

French Canadien (Quebec/ Acadians) : "Épluchette de blé d'inde" (sorry no English link)
Which is basically getting together to peel your corn, and cook it and eat together, usually in one's backyard and when corn is in season (ie. now)
posted by kitsuloukos at 10:04 PM on August 27, 2017

King cake party (southern Louisiana)
posted by BicycleFace at 10:21 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Zongzi Chinese rice dumpling/packets
Tanguan Chinese sweet rice dumpling soup
Tamalada Party Tamale making party
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 10:24 PM on August 27, 2017

Raclette - a Swiss dish, very popular in France

From Wikipedia:

"A modern way of serving raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small pans, known as coupelles, in which to melt slices of raclette cheese. Generally the grill is surmounted by a hot plate or griddle. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, accompanied by platters of boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables and charcuterie. These are then mixed with potatoes and topped with cheese in the small, wedge-shaped coupelles that are placed under the grill to melt and brown the cheese. Alternatively, slices of cheese may be melted and simply poured over food on the plate. The emphasis in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours. French and other European supermarkets generally stock both the grill apparatus and ready-sliced cheese and charcuterie selections, especially around Christmas. Restaurants also provide raclette evenings for parties of diners."
posted by Blissful at 10:33 PM on August 27, 2017

Don't forget about the traditional Filipino Boodle Fight.
posted by AnneBoleyn at 10:55 PM on August 27, 2017

Low country boil
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:57 PM on August 27, 2017

The high school girls' track team c. 2006 in southern CT had a lot of pasta dinners: spaghetti with meatballs and sauce, baked ziti, garlic bread, iceberg salad with Italian dressing. This was presumably to carbo-load before a meet.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:31 PM on August 27, 2017

Passover Seder, but also break the fast after Yom Kippur, and the first/most convenient night of Sukkot which usually amounts to an outdoor party with lots of fruits.

On the agnostic side of things, there are a lot of little traditions built up around harvests and preserving. In Korea there are still big parties in rural areas where people get together to make huge batches of kimchi and subsequently eat a lot of it fresh that day. My friend in North Carolina used to attend her grandma's tomato canning parties where they'd do different sauces and types of whole tomato canning and then eat lots of tomato heavy dishes for dinner - I know about this because she is learning to can and hoping to hold these parties again soon.
posted by Mizu at 11:35 PM on August 27, 2017

posted by aqsakal at 11:47 PM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

In Sweden:
julbord (literally a smörgåsbord, with specific elements at or before Christmas)
kräftskiva (eating lots of crabs and getting drunk in August)
fika (twice daily mandatory coffee and often cinnamon rolls at work, voluntary on weekends with friends or family)
posted by meijusa at 11:56 PM on August 27, 2017

Wine & cheese party. In the European country I'm in at the moment, that means that there will be: some kind of hors d'oeuvres, and then bread, butter, wine and lots of different cheeses for dinner. This was so obvious to my husband that he laughed when I asked him before we went to his dad's wine&cheese party if the cheese part was the appetizer or the main course.
posted by colfax at 1:03 AM on August 28, 2017

Bull and Oyster Roast - in addition to oysters, Baltimore style pit beef is served
Fasnacht Day - Dooughnuts
Moon Festival - Moon Cakes
posted by seesom at 1:24 AM on August 28, 2017

I'm going to push back a bit against "barbecue," because it means different things to different people. It can imply a backyard grill-fest, with hot dogs and hamburgers and such. But it can also imply proper "barbecue" such as pulled pork, ribs, brisket, etc. etc. Perhaps in context it would be obvious, but I think it's less clear than something like "shrimp boil."
posted by dondiego87 at 2:24 AM on August 28, 2017

When I lived in China, a 'jiaozi party' was a great get-together around food.

Everyone had their own way of making the ingredients, everyone had their family's tips and tricks passed down through generations.

All I did was eat a ton of these fresh dumplings. Yum.

Here's one for the Spring Festival put on by a group of expats as more of a paid event (rather than as a group of friends getting together).
posted by scooterdog at 2:35 AM on August 28, 2017

Ice Cream Social

Going 'Smelting'....nasty little fish that people will catch when they run and then cook up right then and there, usually with lots of beer, because drunk is the only way those things can taste right....or at least, thats what I think. But apparently some people like them!!

Corn roast
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 3:01 AM on August 28, 2017

Bean supper, or ham and bean supper; a New England tradition (usually at a church or community hall rather than someone's home) where baked beans, ham, and usually a couple of sides are served.
posted by mskyle at 4:31 AM on August 28, 2017

A Burns Supper.
posted by my face your at 5:12 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:50 AM on August 28, 2017

Pig roast - in New England this isn't a barbecue but just a roasted pig, people bring beers and sodas and side dishes, eat in the backyard.
Chicken pie supper - these are usually fundraisers at small towns (at least in Vermont) where you pay one amount and get chicken pie and a collection of side dishes all prepared by the congregation. There is always pie for dessert. Drinks are coffee, water and lemonade, sometimes iced tea. Eat in church basement.
Game Supper - a different sort of community fund raiser, very meat-heavy and mostly wild game killed and prepared by the congregation or community. A small number of sides. Eat in church basement or at fish and game club.
posted by jessamyn at 6:05 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

In Georgia (the country, not the state) there's the Supra, a ritualized feast with a proscribed system of and order to toasts (presided over by a formal toastmaster selected from the attendees).
posted by Itaxpica at 6:26 AM on August 28, 2017

grilled cheese party
bloody mary bar
posted by maloon at 6:35 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Booya (or Booyah) - giant pots of slow-cooked stew are made by a community group (firefighters, church, etc.) and sold as a fundraiser. Very popular in parts of Minnesota & Wisconsin.
posted by belladonna at 6:49 AM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

From my Texas raisin':
Oyster bake
Crawfish boil
Tamale-making party (usually with family, usually around Christmas)
Whole roast pig
Selling BBQ plates as a fundraiser
Chili cookoff! More or less competitive, often just an excuse to get together.
Fish fry
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:21 AM on August 28, 2017

Crab boil (Marylander here).

Maryland blue crabs are never boiled; they're steamed, and the event is called a crab feast.

Steamed crabs are the original slow food. A bushel of jimmies spread out on a long paper-covered table is an invitation to sit down, slow down and get your hands dirty. You eat for several hours but you earn every bite, and you never get overfull like you do at other food-centered social events.

Suddenly I want to go home.
posted by headnsouth at 7:36 AM on August 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Dump Dinner - tons of meat and veg boiled together and then dumped out on newspaper
Progressive Dinner - one course at each house
Church Potluck - in the Midwest, this usually happens in the basement of the Lutheran Church and has lots of Jello Salad and Hot Dish (tater tot, green bean, etc.)
posted by soelo at 7:41 AM on August 28, 2017

My father's volunteer fire department does game dinners and porchetta dinners as fundraisers & social events.
posted by carrioncomfort at 9:36 AM on August 28, 2017

In france, if you're invited to a Mechoui you'd know what to expect. I've only been to ones hosted by French people of french descent, as opposed to of north african descent if it matters, but i think it's a popular food event for both groups. It's basically a whole lamb roast on a spit with assorted fixings, and likely only held outdoors in the summertime.
posted by PardonMyFrench at 10:58 AM on August 28, 2017

Door County WI fish boil. Coming from New England I've always considered it the Great Lakes equivalent of a clambake.
posted by sesquipedalia at 11:39 AM on August 28, 2017

Here in Catalunya, it's all about the Calçotada.
posted by conifer at 5:48 AM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

headnsouth: Maryland blue crabs are never boiled; they're steamed, and the event is called a crab feast.

Holy crap, thank you. I stared at that comment for a long time wondering what was bothering me about what I'd just typed, but yes. That is it. Steamed crustaceans is always the right way. With Old Bay. And newspapers. And mallets and bibs and other implements of destruction.

It's been a while.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:10 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

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