Whether you are having kids or adults, you are going to have to feed the masses at your birthday party. Depending on the theme of your event, you can serve quick and easy snacks, you can have the whole thing catered, or you can go all-out making your own three–or more–course meal. Choose the styles of foods that work best for you.
The courses you serve will depend on the time of day you choose for having the birthday party. You may choose to have an afternoon party, which means you’ll only need to serve appetizers. A lunch- or dinner-time party will mean you’ll have to serve a meal, even if it’s something easy, like pizza or hot dogs. If you’re having children over for the party, you can almost never go wrong with sandwiches–especially if you cut them into fun shapes–or macaroni and cheese. If you’re having adults, try a Mexican theme, with tacos or burritos, or an Italian theme, with salad and pasta.
Make It Self-Serve
If you’re worried about picky eaters, you can circumvent that problem by choosing foods that your guests prepare on their own. For example, you could order a deli platter with sandwich meats and cheeses, and purchase rolls for sandwiches. You could also have guests create their own mini pizzas, baked potatoes or tacos.
Beyond the Basics
There are always basic foods that show up at birthday parties–pizzas, bowls of chips and pretzels or a giant sub sandwich cut into smaller pieces. If you want to step outside of the normal, look for more adult appetizers that have kid appeal. For example, you could serve a hummus platter, skewer tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on sticks or prepare quesadillas and mini-quiches.
Think about the amount of time you have to get ready for the party and plan your foods accordingly. If you are working all week and throwing a birthday party on a Friday night, you may want to consider buying food from a favorite restaurant, rather than hitting the kitchen just before the party. If you stay at home and have more time, you can prepare your own foods. Plan how long the food will take to cook so that you can finish your preparations before the party starts, allowing you to enjoy the party.
The Main Attraction
If you serve just one thing at a birthday party, it has to be the cake. This is the all-important symbol of the birthday, with the candles on top representing the birthday girl’s age. A traditional cake is always a hit, but prepare her favorite flavor. Alternatively, you could use cupcakes as the birthday cake, arranging them close together and frosting over the top, so that it looks like a cake. You can also choose something not quite as traditional, such as an ice cream cake or a fruit tart.