The Senior Cat had to go to a "shared lunch" yesterday - the sort of lunch where Australians are asked to "bring a plate", which means a plate of finger type food which can be shared with other people.
I knew it was going to be hot and I did not want to have to cook anything so I made some little "salad kebabs" on toothpicks. Pieces of yellow capsicum and cucumber, cherry tomatoes, the smallest button mushrooms I could find and some tiny pieces of sharp cheddar cheese were all put on the toothpicks in varying combinations. I piled a plate high and sent it off with strict instructions that it was to be given to someone to put in the refrigerator until they were ready to eat.
He came home and said, "I didn't get any. It all went." It didn't matter that he did not get any. I was prepared for that. The Senior Cat rarely eats much at such events. He prefers to sit down and take his time at home.
I was telling a neighbour what I had done yesterday afternoon. It was after she had mentioned the problems her daughter was having with birthday party food. Apparently her daughter is not alone either because there was an article in today's paper about children's party food which mentioned the words "food stylist". Yes, I had to read those words twice too. A "food stylist" for a child's party?
I remember going to a birthday party as a child. Why I was allowed to go is still a mystery to me - perhaps because I remember my brother being there as well.
I can remember the food even now. There were ham sandwiches, tiny sausage rolls, "fairy bread", orange jellies set inside half an orange skin and raspberry cordial to drink. There was also - surely the crowning glory - a birthday cake made from icecream. I don't remember anything else apart from the adults drinking what must have been tea. I doubt coffee was provided back then.
We didn't need food stylists back then. Nobody had ever heard of them.
A friend in London used to invite me to the parties she had for her two daughters. They were marvellous affairs where we "did things". Her parties were famous for it. We would collapse exhausted at the end of them. The food? Oh yes things like tiny sausages on sticks, tiny "pizzas" about the size of a 50p piece and other tiny delights. They were just mouthfuls - enough for very small children not to feel overloaded. There were jellies and cake too.
Now it seems you are supposed to provide tofu squares and carrot sticks - and both tofu and carrots should be organic. Bread should be gluten free. There should not be any dairy products. It is wiser not to offer eggs or meat. Sweet things? A little fruit if you must - organic of course. Drinks? As a very special treat one glass each of watered down fruit juice without preservatives.
Is that really party food? I don't think so. If I was running the party there would be proper party food. Oh yes, I would warn the parents what I intended to do but I would say, "It's a party. We are having party food."
I would go ahead and provide those bite size treats and then, at the end of it, there would be cake. I rather like the idea of an icecream cake.