Getting lost in a wonderfully written novel and eating a scrumptious meal are two of life’s great pleasures.
Combine these with good company and conversation, and you’ve got a fabulous new angle for entertaining (can we say best book club ever?). Here are some ideas to get your party started.
Pair food with popular books
: This summer blockbuster film was first a bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett. The book takes place in the South in the 1960’s, and while the topics written about are much more serious than food, the description of home-style Southern cooking makes your mouth water while reading. Take a cue from The Help
and serve up a southern style dinner party complete with fried chicken and a chocolate pie—a REAL chocolate pie, for those of you that have read the book! Or, if you’ll be reading the novel in a book club, consider hosting your discussion over mini pimento cheese sandwiches and spiked sweet tea to represent the South.
Eat Pray Love
: The main character in this popular book (by Elizabeth Gilbert) eats her way through Italy. The descriptions of pasta, pizza and cheese will make you so hungry for Italian food—you won’t find a more perfect excuse to throw an Italian dinner or pasta party.
: This classic book by F. Scott Fitzgerald invokes images of grandiose ballrooms and black tie events. Why not throw a Gatbsy-esque party for a special event like New Year’s Eve? Have guests dress in formal attire; serve passed hors d'oeuvres and fantastic champagne cocktails. You’ll be channeling Gatsby and Daisy before you know it!
Throw a scrumptious children’s party
Many children’s books and stories have food connotations that provide the perfect theme for a children’s party. For example:
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Start with the obvious and serve spaghetti and meatballs for a sleepover dinner. You can also get a little creative with a spaghetti and meatballs cake. If you’re a truly devoted parent, you might even consider a backyard food fight!
- James and the Giant Peach: Peaches are so versatile, you can use them in everything from salsa to sorbet. Ask local party rental companies to see if you can find a giant peach piñata to complete the fun.
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Candy, candy, candy. Can you imagine the sugar stupor—and the looks of joy on the kids’ faces?
- Hansel and Gretel: Who says you can only throw gingerbread house parties during the holidays? Put a fresh spin on an old favorite. Hire a storyteller to deliver the tale, and let the kids enjoy assembling and decorating their own cottages.
Decorate with books
Whether it’s a casual book club gathering or a dinner party for four, books are an easy decorating tool. If the book is old and weathered, that’s even better. You may have some books with “character” in your attic or even your local used book store. Check out these clever ways to dress up with literature:
Book centerpiece: Use a pretty stack of books to perch flowers on for a themed centerpiece. Or forget the flowers and just use the books stacked artfully!
Book pages: Weathered book pages can be used to decorate in many ways. Here are a few:
- Placemats and table runners – Tape together several different book pages and use as a long table runner, or just use two to combine as a placemat under a place setting.
- Hanging garland - Use whole pages or cut out shapes from book pages and attach to string as hanging garland.
- Place cards – Frame pieces of book pages and write names on them for place cards.
Books and food are such wonderful parts of life, so why not add in entertaining to make it a perfect trifecta? Enjoy!