Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Party Refreshments That Just Don't Work

Penelope Trunk's post on Brazen Careerist titled Five things people say about Christmas that drive me nuts inspired me to think deeply about this holiday madness we're facing. Like all those holiday parties scheduled between now and January 1, 2008. I've been to my share in the past, and I've come to believe the following foods and beverages should be banned from all public and private places at this time (indeed, any time) of the year:

Cheese Balls

Always labeled "port wine," these seemingly efficient creations have one basic problem: once the first guest takes a portion from a fresh ball, it immediately looks like leftovers. And have you ever been to a gathering where one of these nut-rolled wonders are devoured down to the last cracker? SOLUTION: Serve cheese by all means. Just not processed.

Spiral Sliced Ham
This actually tastes fine, if you like ham. I can never navigate the proper-sized slice. It's always one continuous ribbon, difficult to maneuver into one of those small, cube-shaped rolls. I feel like I'm going to walk away from the table trailing ham behind me, like toilet paper stuck to my shoe. SOLUTION: Consider the spiral slice a given, and contribute your own slicing before you place it on the table.

Condiments in Ramekins
Closely tied to the Spiral Sliced Ham. Granted, a big jar of Hellman's and a blazing yellow Heinz squirt bottle does irreparable damage to the buffet table aesthetics. But mayonnaise starts to turn colors when exposed to air, and mustard gets all crusty. We won't even mention the food safety issues. SOLUTION: Nix the ham and you don't have to supply the condiments in any container.

Egg Nog
"I just drink it for the alcohol," you've probably heard people say. Any beverage that requires an excuse is subject to deletion in my opinion. And is there any justification for displaying a bowl of thick, whitish-yellow creamlike substance with that most unappetizing name? SOLUTION: Serve mixed drinks, wine and beer. Or soft drinks, if you're so inclined.

Kabobs on a Cabbage
My mom made this for a Christmas Eve party a couple of years ago. Sliced a cabbage in half and spent far too much time sticking it with cold cut-laden toothpicks. It looked hazardous. After guests consumed a significant number of kabobs, we were left with a cabbage full of holes to look at. Happy Holidays! SOLUTION: Don't read housekeeping magazines before the holidays.

Sparkling Cider
A product that is All About The Package. Why else would people buy and serve apple juice with bubbles, if not to approximate champagne. It's just sweet enough to keep it from being served with any meal course. Two glasses of this and I just start feeling sick. SOLUTION: Go to bed at a normal hour that night.

Which holiday party foods/beverages would you like to retire permanently?

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