There are three keys to throwing a birthday cooking party that both children and adults can enjoy. One essential element is good planning. The second is the choice of the item that everyone will participate in cooking. The third consists of entertaining interludes for both younger and adult guests.
When making the plan, consider the ages of the children who will be present and how many children there will be, as well an health considerations and food allergies. These three factors will guide considerations such as how long the party will last, how long food preparation can last and how complicated it can be, as well as what types of recipes will suit everyone’s dietary needs. Younger children will mean less preparation time and more immediate gratification are a good idea, so decoration, rather than intensive preparation, is a good idea. Older children may be up for doing some food preparation, going in another room to play some games and watch presents being opened, and returning to their self-prepared feast.
Depending on how busy your guests’ schedules are, you may want to choose a date and send invitations for your birthday cooking party up to a month in advance. If you choose to send written invitations, you can play up the cooking theme, either with hand-drawn invitations or by downloading clip art from the Internet. Put in a comfortable RSVP date, and add a note on your calendar to follow up with anyone who hasn’t responded. You may want to plan ahead for party favors and tie them in with the invitation art.
Excellent menu choices for your birthday cooking party include pizza, tacos, cupcakes, and ice cream sundaes. These choices are good because they can be made simpler or more interesting depending on the age of the children. While young children might just add toppings to any of the items, older children could roll out their own pizzas, completely fill their own tacos, mix several kinds of batter — for example, vanilla, chocolate, and banana — to make their own cupcakes, and then decorate them, or take turns cranking the handle on the homemade ice cream and then decorate the sundaes. In addition, vegetarian substitutions are readily available for most ingredients in these dishes, as are gluten-free options. Or, for a completely different approach, create a self-limited Iron Chef®-style challenge for the adults while the children are entertained, and then invite the children to be the judges.
Plan the diversions for your birthday cooking party by modifying the usual party entertainment to have a cooking theme. Instead of pin the tail of the donkey, you could play, pin the chef’s hat on the chef. For entertainment, you could rent the movie Ratatouille about the rat who becomes a chef for the children, while adults are treated to Julie and Julia. A blindfolded taste test can also be fun. Shopping in two sections to accommodate perishable items may be useful. On the day of the party, decorate the house, do any preparatory cooking, and lay out bowls of ingredients or fill them and stack them in the refrigerator if they need to stay cool. Then all you have to do is welcome your guests and enjoy your party.