It all started when my mom gave me a book from 1958 about cooking and entertaining. I figured this would be the perfect party. I spent about a month looking at old recipes. I sent out invitations. I got myself a 50s housewife dress. And last Saturday, I threw a pretty fun 50s party. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that everyone dressed up, and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Now I believe that if you are going to go to the bother to throw a party, you should be able to enjoy it. That is what I kept in mind while planning. I was able to make all the food ahead of time. Most of it was done the day before, in fact. Instead of bar-tending all night, I made pitchers of drinks, and let people pour them for themselves.
I had a buffet style sampling of appetizers and desserts. I made two types of Jell-o, a cherry-chocolate bundt cake, little cakes, ambrosia salad, a cheese ball, refrigerator pickles, and spinach dip. I made almost all of this on Friday morning. Food in the 50s was easy! Packaged things, processed things, convenience food galore–I have never put such little effort into making food for a party before.
1 small tub of Merk Cheese
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
a little blue cheese
a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Throw it all together and mix together. Wrap in plastic wrap and form into a ball. Put in the fridge overnight. Before serving roll in parsley or chopped nuts.
Easiest Chocolate-cherry Bundt Cake Ever
1 devil’s food chocolate cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 can cherry pie filling
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix it all together and put it in a bundt pan pre-sprayed with Baker’s Joy. Bake for about 45-50 minutes. Leave it cook in the pan for about 15 minutes then slide it out and let it cool completely. Top with chocolate frosting.
1 package of marshmallows
1 tub of cool whip
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup coconut
Mix it all together. That is it. It is actually that easy.
For ease, I wanted just one or two drinks at the party. I decided on a Mojito and an Old Fashioned because they were both around in the 50s and they are both delicious. According to Wikipedia (so it is probably right), the Old Fashioned was the favorite drink of President Truman, and the Mojito was the favorite drink of Hemingway.
1 2/3 oz white run
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 ox lime juice
bunch of fresh mint
Put the sugar and the lime juice together in the bottom of a high ball glass. Throw the mint in and muddle together. Add the rum, ice, and sparkling water. Serve with a slice of lime.
1 2/3 oz bourbon
dash of Angostura bitters
1 sugar cube
oranges and maraschino cherry
Place the sugar cube in an old-fashioned class and soak with the bitters. Add some orange slices and muddle together. Add the bourbon, ice, and cover with soda. You can also use Sprite for a sweet Old Fashioned (serve with a maraschino cherry) or Squirt or 50/50 for a Sour Old Fashioned (serve with an olive). If you are from Wisconsin, you can make these with brandy instead of bourbon. Both liquors are quite good. I like all varieties of Old Fashioneds.
Everyone came looking fantastic. I didn’t get a ton of pictures, but here a few.
Here we are looking like a nice happy 50s family.
Our friend Joe came up from Madison for the party. He helped me out a ton preparing for the party. Plus he spent a couple of hours putting together a great 50s playlist.
I think Kelsey (my friend and former roommate) took the cake for the best outfit. The baby she is holding is not hers though. The adorable little baby Nina belongs to our friends Ann and Antonio.
Joe and Antonio showed up in the same hat…
Kara and Caleb–he is sporting a bow tie and she is wearing metallic gloves–pretty awesome.
Kim and Josh–my cousins-in-laws (is that a thing?). Kim had the cutest hat!
Here is my friend Katie all decked out with broaches.
Here is Elle holding little Milo (Milo is not her baby. He belongs to our friends Ray and Angie).
It was an absolute beautiful night, and we enjoyed some time outdoors.
Thank you so much to everyone who came. I feel really bad I didn’t get pictures of everyone because everyone looked great! Next time I will be more on top of pictures!