As you may have noticed, I am not feeling very bloggy right now. But, as part of my duty to enhancing your Google search for ideas on vegetarian kid’s birthday party ideas, here is this post.
A weekend or so back, we held a belated birthday party for my daughter, who thinks she has a lot of friends. So, despite trying to limit the guest list, we needed to plan an outdoor party to host all the little ones without requiring ridiculous amounts of planning and precaution involving my house. Because the party venue was a local park, it was important that the menu be full of stuff that fared well at room temp.
Despite there being no room and the thermometer climbing well into the 90’s. In retrospect, I probably could have put out watermelon and ice cream and everyone would have been happy and refreshed. But you know what? I find the task of procuring a delicious watermelon daunting.
So, a week before the party, I put on my apron and got prepping.
We are not a Boca Burger/Tofu Pup kind of family. Real food was required. And my daughter, the dictator in training, had ideas. Lots of ideas. And far be it for me to discourage a budding foodie.
And….everything was vegan except the cheese and sweets.
Barbecued Gluten Kebabs
Summer Rolls w/Spicy Peanut Tamarind Sauce
Rice Noodle Salad
Bread Rolls (turned out horrible but thankfully it was too hot for anyone to want to eat)
Choco Chip Cookies
Cupcakes and Birthday Cake
Spring rolls were originally on the menu but got axed at around 5 am the day of the party when I thought I was going to die and had the realization that, “She is only five. She has plenty of years ahead of her to deal with the disappointment.”
The big challenge of the event was two-fold. This was not a drop off party, so nom noms were required for sweating, sweltering parents. Also, this was not a party where the guests in attendance were exclusively vegetarian. I would say it was a 50/50 split. Thankfully, the non-veg crowd was a pretty international bunch, so the Asian-inspired menu would not be seen as, you know, weird.
While the foods listed above may not strike everyone as obvious kid friendly choices, I come from the eating school of thought that 1) it is good to expose kids to new tastes/dishes 2) we need not dumb down the menu to make kids happy 3) as long as there is cheese, grapes, baby carrots and popcorn the children will survive until the next meal.
I did, however, compromise big time by using disposable/compostable plates. We have a ton of stoneware dishes that we use for parties, but I didn’t want to schlep them all to the park and deal with people accidentally throwing out my stainless steel forks (we used plastic and I felt guilty about it).
Goodie Bags. My daughter wanted these. Badly. Filled with candy, dollar store plastic Chinese imports and party blowers. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Take-away garbage. Last year, with my son’s party, I started the Mirel family tradition of take-away baked goods. I thought, by this year, the idea would have surely caught on with my kids. Instead, my daughters exclamation, “Ugh, cookies!” complete with eye roll gave me insight into the joy she is going to be as a teenager. Nevertheless, I made giant butter cookies, covered in sprinkles, reminiscent of the ones I got as a kid at the Royal Bakery in my hometown of Sayreville, NJ. While my daughter debates whether or not I am the biggest killjoy to hit the five year old party circuit, the kids at the party seemed to be psyched about their parting gift.
Pinata. We had one. And I apologize to the parents for stocking it with the crappiest, sugariest, most artificial candy I could procure, courtesy of Dollar General. But I swear, everything else available at the party was organic/homemade/fresh/good/etc.
So there you have it. No magic macaroni and cheese recipe. No vegan s’mores. Just regular vegetarian food served to a regular crowd of veg and non-veg friends. Everyone was happy. No one was hungry. Although there were a few inquiries about when the ice cream was to be served….