Party like it's 1956? Help plan my retro New Year's shindig.
December 20, 2006 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Party like it's 1956? Help plan my retro New Year's shindig.

At the last minute we've decided to host a small (<2 0 guests) new year's eve get-together for friends. i'm not big theme parties, but i'd like to have a midcentury cocktail party kind of feel (vs. Connecticut fabulous or hipper-than-thou). I need ideas for food, drink, and atmosphere. We'll be getting back from Christmas with the family on the 29th, so prep time will be short. Also, I'd like to not spend a mint.

Food: Looking for updated comfort food, not crocembouche and caviar. Maybe pigs-in-a-blanket with chicken sausage instead of weiners? Must be safe to leave out on a buffet for hours. The nut-allergic friend can't make it, and there are no vegetarians in the group, so go wild. Priorities: delicious, easy to serve and eat buffet style, fast to make, not too expensive, in that order.

Drink: I like the idea of a fruity, sparkling punch, but all the recipes I've found sound nasty. I don't want a zombie in a bowl, but something light -- no Hi-C, Crystal Light, or stupefying levels of alcohol.

Atmosphere: I need simple ideas to festive up the place in little time. What amenities have you really appreciated as a party guest? I have a great, long mix of Christmas music -- OK to play for a New Year's party, or do I need a new soundtrack? Are there New Year's-specific activities you've enjoyed? Some kind of structured toasts or resolution sharing? We have Apples to Apples.
posted by libraryhead to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Might I recommend something in a Jell-O Mold?

Seriously, you might find something appropriate in this list of retro recipes.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2006

Retro cocktail party, you say? You need Archie McPhee.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2006

i'd avoid the christmas music on new year's eve. instead maybe opt for hits of 1956...
posted by noloveforned at 8:31 AM on December 20, 2006

Drink: I was recently introduced to the concept of the punch made by mixing 7-Up and thawing rainbow sherbet. Definitely light because of the "float" aspect, bonus points for old-school colors, fruity flavors.

The JellO molding is a must.
posted by whatzit at 8:55 AM on December 20, 2006

Get great retro napkins (and all other bar gear) at Vintage Vending.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:05 AM on December 20, 2006

Best answer: This site may be helpful (though he seems to disapprove of pigs in blankets).
posted by Morrigan at 9:52 AM on December 20, 2006

Best answer: i make this melty cheese thing that KILLS at buffets.

core, and cut some APPLES and PEARS into slim wedges (for 20 people, maybe 3 or 4 of each fruit). sprinkle with brown sugar, dot with butter. cover and bake until halfway soft and caramelly.

brush A WHEEL OF BRIE or camenbert (maybe a 9" round sounds right for your needs) with a bit of olive oil. put it in the oven with the apples & pears (i centre it among them in the same pan, personally) and bake until it's soft and collapsing.

while the brie bakes, throw some frozen unsweetened BLUEBERRIES and a wee bit of water into a pan on medium heat. stir occasionally until it makes a sauce. (for a 9-inch cheese wheel, maybe 1 cup of berries and a tablespoon of water). (the berries will leak water when they defrost, so don't add too much water off the bat.)

carefully centre the melty brie on a plate.
arrange the warm apples&pears around it.
pour hot blueberry sauce on top of the cheese.
serve with crackers and lots of knives.

people FREAK out over this. melty rich cheese and sweet fruit together is basically the best thing i've ever made at a party. it makes people lose their snit. if you're doing cheeses, i guarantee this is a better way to serve the brie.
posted by twistofrhyme at 9:56 AM on December 20, 2006 [10 favorites]

Bon Apetit had a magazine issue out earlier this year celebrating all their top recipes from every decade - including the 50's.
posted by matty at 10:00 AM on December 20, 2006

Response by poster: That brie recipe sounds amazing, twistofrhyme. And the Appetizers in Eichlerville link is exactly the vibe I'm going for. Any further thoughts on the punch thing?
posted by libraryhead at 10:52 AM on December 20, 2006

I remember my grandma loving champagne punch! (and a bonus link, too) plus I can't think of anything more fabulous or Marilyn Monroe-esque for a Fab 50's party.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:58 AM on December 20, 2006

Best answer: Here's retro New Year's party info. I want to try the cheese puffs.
posted by Morrigan at 12:52 PM on December 20, 2006

A little cream cheese and a dab of pepper jelly on a water cracker.

1 part Bleu cheese, 1 part cream cheese, 1 part sour cream (light works just fine) and a little minced onion. Spread in endive leaves and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

For something hokey but very tasty: A Cheese Hedgehog.

Also, Lil' Smokies are the hit of any party. People suck these down like nothing else, buy twice as many as you think you need. Plus, they only get better the longer they sit in the crockpot or chafing dish.
posted by annaramma at 1:24 PM on December 20, 2006

The Gallery of Regrettable Food might help. You'll notice that there aren't any recipes including Brie in these links; Brie made it to most of the US in the 1975-1980 era.

Try Velveeta.
posted by watsondog at 3:13 PM on December 20, 2006

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