Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Entertaining with Kathi Column ~ October 24, 2007

Going Green with An Eco-Chic Soiree For Halloween
By Kathi Dameron

A frightfully good Halloween Party was the heady brew bubbling in the cauldron of my imagination.

My vision was to concoct a zany recipe for a weird and wonderful party that would be cutting edge and in-step with the times.

In a moment of serendipity, the contemporary newsworthy expression “Hasta La Vista Baby To Greenhouse Gases…” from the lips of THE TERMINATOR popped across my imagination and I was off and stirring with a ghoulish idea.

Co-mingling current affairs with thought-provoking art is an idea that I first tasted during my impressionable forays into the avant garde New York City design world of the late 1970’s. Showcasing the noble and worthy through the artistic, the fun and even the outrageous is a tasteful strategy for drawing attention to a worthwhile cause. In my book, the future of our environment qualifies as an important cause to be embraced.

So for a Halloween soiree- why not transform the front yard into a creepy and foggy cemetery. On gray headstones, global warming messages could be painted in shaky blood-red lettering while rented fog machines could create the eerie effects of smoke and smog.

Halloween is indeed the perfect time to throw an all out crazy palooza! For Halloween gives us the opportunity to do the otherwise insane.

But instead of being crazy, the party theme and menu would be very sane for it would showcase the epitome of environmentally conscious entertaining.

We are talking eco-chic soirees, here. My conscious shudders with guilt over the many times that parties I hosted or catered over the years were anything but eco-chic. But hey we all make mistakes, and some of us, yours truly included, might have a tendency to arrive fashionably late.

The good news is… it’s not too late to clean up our act and get moving forward on an ecologically chic pathway.

So where would we begin? How would one go about throwing an environmentally conscious party? It begins in the planning process when a conscience decision is made to only do that which is good for the environment and reject that which is destructive.

How To Throw An Eco-Chic Party

1. Invitations - Whenever possible opt for post-consumer recycled paper and soy ink or even send a digital invitation. Did you know that there are free online invitation services?

2. Tabletop Dishes – Use the real thing. It is so much nicer to eat off real dishes with real silverware anyway. Beverages also always taste better in nice glassware. If you must use disposable products, then choose products that are recyclable, biodegradable and made from unbleached materials.

3. Candles – Dim the lights and use nontoxic, beeswax or soy-based, petroleum-free candles. If you have a collection of half-burned candles, recycle them by melting them together and re pouring them into old jelly jars to create new candles.

4. Food- Think local! Plan your menu around seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Support our local farmers.

5. Serving Dishes-Use natural containers for your food. At Halloween, pumpkins are great as a wonderful and whimsical dual purpose soup tureen or dip container.

6. Leftovers- Donate excessive left over food to the food bank or send guests home with food!

7. Garbage- Make it easy on your guests to recycle. Set up separate recycle bins near the garbage.

8. Transportation- Encourage guests to carpool.

9. Clean-Up- Use non-toxic planet friendly cleaners.

10. Menu Ideas – Attend one of my eco-chic cooking classes for delicious and regionally inspired green party menus.

This article was originally submitted to the Northeast Chronicle, a community publication of the Tallahassee Democrat for the October 25, 2007 "Entertaining with Kathi" food and entertaining column.

Kathi Dameron teaches Make and Take Cooking Workshops. To request a cooking class schedule contact Kathi at 850-422-3599 or at
Photo Credit: Chris Withers (Springfield Illinois) & SXC

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