What to serve at kids’ parties? The golden middle …
Kids are easy to please, as in they are much less fussy than one might believe. Focus on the essentials, good quality ingredients and keep the options manageable for your young guests.
Before we go into details you might want to reflect on what your own eating habits are and how you would like to organise things during your kids party. Sitting together at the table? Sitting on the floor? Randomly snacking from a buffet? The decision is ultimately about getting the balance right between sociability, comfort and mess. The Rabbit is a huge fan of sitting down together as a group, enjoying the food together with excited talking and laughing. And yes it does work as your guests will most likely eat with their peers at their kindergarten or school friends at least once a day.
Here a couple of ideas to start off – suitable for catering or freshly made at home. The selection is ideal for adaptation suitable to your preferences.
Meat dishes – hot dogs are fun, no matter what. Also by now, there is a variety of meat and non-meat sausages easily available, suitable for all dietary needs. No need to offer ketchup or mustard, plain is the best. Easy to make and can feed even the biggest party crowd – young and old.
Pizza, pizza rolls – it doesn’t come any easier to prepare and allows for a range of variations, catering also for the needs of adults who feel peckish. If you are not so keen on making your own dough, allow yourself the convenience to buy it. Garnishing the pizza takes no time and only requires some planning with regards to how many vegetarian portions you need. Standard variations, always a hit, are: margherita, salami, ham and sweetcorn, and for adults brie with pear garnished with red onions, but there are no limits to your imagination!
Go Sandwich – the British Sandwich not only has intriguing origins (allegedly the 4th Earl of Sandwich, lived off bread and meat during his many hours of gambling in the late 18th century) but offers options for all, starting from the choice of bread, spread and topping. Also ideal for integrating seasonal vegetables like thinly sliced cucumbers or herbs (for the ones who dare eat greens).
Quiche – beautiful to look at, and easy to make. Some prefer mini quiches as easy to serve and eat, but also making one big quiche, cutting it into little easy-to-nibble cubes is perfect.
Schnitzel – of course the Schnitzel has to be listed here as The Rabbit operates mainly in Vienna, however the dish is universally recognised. I remember making a huge platter of thinly cut breaded chicken strips for my daughter’s friends in Manhattan when she turned 2 years old. I very clearly remember the platter was empty within minutes and there were huge grins on the kids’ faces. Easy to make, ideal to prepare, key is high quality ingredients. If you cater your Schnitzel, delivery time and storage is key.
Nachos with guacamole – choose whether you want plain or flavoured nachos, whether you want to top them with cheese (which requires putting the nachos briefly in the oven). Season the guacamole to the liking of your kids.
Colourful and fun – and yes, I am talking about vegetables. A selection of a couple is ample, be it carrots, peppers or cucumbers. Just make sure that you cut the pieces suitable for the age of your guests.
Cake, cake pops, muffins, sweets – I remember the kids’ birthday parties back in New York, also because of their opulent and beautifully decorated sugar-coated birthday cakes for kids as young as 3 years old. I certainly enjoyed my piece. However, offering additional sweets, as part of the goody bags or part of kids’ entertainment, is not really necessary. With sweets the ‘less is more’ saying might be more applicable, especially if your children are invited to several kids parties consecutively and the exception seems to become the norm.
Healthy but sweet – do not forget fruit! A good choice of fruit like the traditional apple, seasonal berries and melons and if available exotic fruits such mangos and pineapple will make your guests very happy. No need to put on skewers as the pre-selected choice might not suit and skewers might be misconstrued as swords!
Drinks – given the amount of food your young guests will be consuming and that within a relatively short period of time, water would be the most sensible, particularly if in summer and hot. But that might not be so popular. Hence freshly made lemon/orange/cucumber water is a super alternative. Also well-diluted good quality fruit syrup could be offered.
The Rabbit wishes you a smooth decision making process and a happy kids’ party meal!