Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Run a Pasta Party

Your child is a member of the varsity swim team - awesome!  I currently have two on our team.  During the season, parents volunteer to host the team for a pasta party...yes, you feed the entire team (boys and girls) a big family style Italian Dinner...in your home....on a school night.

You may think this sounds awesome or this may be overwhelming.  I have always loved hosting it. Swimmers are the most polite and appreciative kids around, I love my house to be filled, and my children really appreciate the effort.  Great mom moment.

I just hosted one this past Monday evening and was asked a bunch of questions by the moms I recruited to host it with me.  Then on Tuesday I received a call from another parent hosting a party next week looking for guidance.  I thought to myself that it would be a great idea to put some thoughts out in cyberspace so parents had a list to use when it was their turn to host.  So here is my best advice:

Form a team:  You should not even think of doing this alone.  You are feeding 45 teenagers in your home.  They just spent 2 1/2 hours in the pool.  Half are boys.  Cooking the required amount of food will take hours (and cost huge bucks).  This year my team was two awesome moms and my co-parent.  Three families makes the event very very manageable.  You need to adults to handle serving and two to clean-up.

This is not an event to make Great Grandma Gardella's homemade sauce (just for the record, I do not have great Great Grandma Gardella's recipes...any of them...such a loss).   This event is about quantity, and then backing away from the buffet table for the swimmers move through at a rapid pace.  They do not need to be served - they are in high school so they can serve themselves.  You may talk with them, but not at length - unless you want to embarrass your children.  I talked at length with many of the kids - but then again, I am already embarrassing to my children...like when I breathe.

Pasta:
Six trays of pasta:  these are the 9x12 trays.  Each takes about two boxes of pasta.  Need ideas:  pasta with sauce, vodka rigatoni, ziti, mac and cheese.  Do not do anything elaborate like lasagna.  No need.  Martha is not coming.

In addition to the six trays I had one additional filled with two boxes of plain past with just butter.

Sauce:  I put two jars of sauce in a small crock pot - it was not used but I felt better having it.  Also, I like to dip garlic bread in sauce.

Meatballs:  You need to fill a large crock post about 3/4 of the way full with meatballs.  Cover with sauce.  Do not make the meatballs, buy a large bag at Sams.

Garlic Bread:  6 loaves should do it. You should really have seven if I am involved.

Salad:  one 9 x 12 tray of salad

Desserts:  You need about 3 trays of dessert.  Think the size of the large cookie trays from Sams Club - that is one.  Chocolate chip cookies are a huge hit - do not waste your time with homemade oatmeal cookies.  Brownies are popular.

Drinks:  Ten (10), 1/2 gallon containers.  We get our from Halo Pub - cheap and nothing beats the chocolate milk.  Get a variety - iced tea, lemonade, fruit punch and chocolate milk.  I also put out two pitchers of water.

Dinner plates, dessert plates / Forks / Knives/ Napkins / cups

Seating:  I set my dining room table for 10, can seat another 10 in my living room on couches and chairs.  In my den, the smallest room I set-up folding table seating for 8 with some couch space.  Most of the kids sat in den - if they didn't get a seat at a table they sat on the couch, the floor or against the fireplace.  The first time I hosted everyone sat in the den - yes, everyone.

So that is it.  Easy schmeasy.  Let me know if you have any questions!


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