Thursday, December 29, 2011

Special dinners

You probably don't want to know about The Green Dinner.

Our family likes to have "Special Dinners" -- dinners with a theme -- every once in a while.  We had the Army Dinner (meatloat, potatoes, salad, and apple pie, served from a made-up mess line, all in one plate).  We had the "dOnnOr" (everything shaped like Os, from the bagels to the hole-y hamburgers, and we talked with all 'O's as best we could).

The Green Dinner . . . well, it happened long, long ago, but the memory remains seared in our psyches. Let's just say that my kids will never again beg me to please-please-please buy neon-green-ketchup, and that's all right by me.

As you can probably tell, there's a little creativity and pre-planning involved in pulling together a special dinner.  And with only one exception, these dinners have been lots and lots of fun.  So I'm using some of my quiet time this week for planning so we can launch these dinners regularly.  This year, I'm enlisting the help of the kids to brainstorm ideas, and they're weighing in with some great ideas.  I bend my rules on non-processed foods slightly, but it's still basically healthy and frugal.  Here's what we've come up with so far.
  • January:  New Year's Dinner with pork, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut.  This is a deep-rooted local tradition, and we can't buck it.  
  • February:  Valentine's dinner.  Heart-shaped table linens, red jello with whipped cream, reuben sandwiches with hearts traded in-and-out via cookie cutters (hard to explain without a photo). Not sure what else yet.  Valentines vegetables still have us stumped.
  • March:  Zoo dinner.  Lots of ideas from the kids, including (but of course) stuffed animal decorations, animal crackers, and turning our chairs arounds so we eat through the backs like cage bars.
  • April: Money dinner.  Just in time for tax day, we'll decorate the table with money covered with a clear drop cloth.  Lots of bacon, lots of dough. More ideas keep flowing in.
  • May: Siete de Mayo.  (Well, we'll be busy on Cinco de Mayo).  Good Mexican music and food.  I might keep everyone in the family on their toes by speaking only in Spanish (heh-heh).
  • June: Underwater dinner.  Dress in bathing suits and goggles.  Blue jello, goldfish crackers, shrimp, sea weed (real or lettuce pretending) and more.
  • July: All American dinner.  
  • August: DOnnOr.  It's been a while, and this was so much fun we've got to bring it back.
  • September:  Talk Like a Pirate Dinner (to commemorate Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19).  Arrr, matey!
  • October:  Halloween Dinner.  Zombie eyeballs (devilled eggs), salted rat brains (cauliflower), cockroaches (sausage with toothpicks), any other gross things we can imagine.
  • November: Not sure yet.  Maybe the always-popular "No Hands Dinner".
  • December: Car dinner, to commemorate the anniversary of my husband's drivers license, which he celebrates every year.  
It's fun to shoot an arrow into the future and see where it lands.  I love planning for the important, serious, detailed stuff in my life.  But I love planning a little zaniness, too!

1 comment:

  1. Ok, so we don't do this, but FUN! I have ideas to add, for Halloween this year we had 'mummy face meatloaf' with friends. Think round meatloaf, dresses in egg noodles, with mozz cheese and olives for eyes. Dress in ketchup for effect.

    Also Zoo Dinner and Talk like a Pirate Dinner, need to involve no silverware. And there should be something lemon for the Pirates, to prevent scurvy. Arrrr!