Tayreze asked: WWJD – Do you have any suggestions for Oscar fare?
That is an interesting question and a timely one, as the Oscars will be upon us in less than a week. Oscar fare suggests an Oscar party, which can be a sticky wicket, as half the guests attending may focus on “party,” while the rest are concerned with “Oscar.” Ideally, if you’re going to throw an Oscar party, you should have large enough a home to house two televisions in two rooms so that those who wish to judge in peace and quiet.
If you choose to have an Oscar party, I recommend simple beverages, champagne is certainly appropriate for the celebratory nature of the evening, but you may well wish to offer a variety of wines and even beer for those who shun the bubbles. Since the guests are more likely to gather at the television than the table, small plate choices would be best. A lovely selection of cheese and charcuterie along with crudite and a collection of hot and cold hors d’oevres is a great choice. Be creative with devilled eggs, wrap jamon iberico around blanched asparagus, broil scallops enveloped in bacon, and create mini-tartlets with goat cheese and a confite of leeks. Shrimp cocktails are lovely, as is Mr B’s Barbecued Shrimp, courtesy of Mr B’s Bistro of New Orleans. Spice up some pecans or mixed nuts and place them in bowls around the room. If you have a deep fryer, you might consider making homemade potato chips.
For some, however, a simple party isn’t enough; they require a theme, usually centering around the ceremony itself. This year’s best picture nominees offer a plethora of possibilities: perhaps you would like to create a party around The Silver Linings Playbook. Simply make whatever you had at your Superbowl party, add some miniature cheesesteaks for local verisimilitude, and replace the bowls of nuts with bowls of lithium. Easy peasy.
Les Miserables and Amour give you the chance to go all Francais on your party. Remember that the former is about poor people and plan your meal accordingly. Cassoulet is a hearty peasant dish, but plan ahead, as goose isn’t the easiest thing to find in CA. Julia also recommends making it in parts over a 3 day period. See if you can find a toothless crone to serve.
And don’t forget that waterboard in the family room for your inevitable unruly guest.
Go Southern with Beasts of the Southern Wild and Django Unchained. With this theme, I’d suggest substituting Hurricanes and Sazeracs for the champagne and wine. If the weather’s warm enough to have your party outside, have a crawfish boil. Or find one of those giant pig things Hushpuppy ran across and make DIY pulled pork sandwiches, if you’ve got a big enough barbecue.
Hushpuppies would be great, too–the fried cornmeal delicacy, not the little girl, that would be just too 1991.
Roll out your tiger rug for Life of Pi, and create an Indian buffet: tandoori chicken, lamb vindaloo, Saag Paneer, lovely lentil dal, and lots and lots of garlicky lamb. Kingfisher or Taj Mahal beer would be great with this.
Lincoln was apparently so concerned with repairing our country that he would basically eat anything put before him, but for an evening celebrating our presidents’ culinary peccadilloes, why not serve Big Macs, cottage cheese with catsup, jelly beans, peanuts, pretzels, potatos, chipped beef, fish chowder, hot dogs, lobster, steak, game, and cherry pie.
Whatever you decide, I advise you to choose things that can be ready ahead of time, rather than spending the awards ceremony Patmorelike in the bowels of the kitchen. And be sure to make plenty of food. That damn show can go on for days.