Remember when we used to go to parties and stick all of our dirty hands into the same chip bowl? As the world reopens and social gatherings fill our calendars, let’s set something straight: we might be down to hang out in person again, but that doesn’t mean we’re all ready to eat off the same plate.
Still, this isn’t an excuse for hosts to let guests go hungry, or for guests to show up empty-handed – please don’t! Instead, check out our top ideas for shareable foods you can bring to a party while minimizing germs.
1. Potato or Pasta Salad Cups
If you make a mean potato salad, don’t deprive the party guests! Instead of bringing the bowl, scoop single servings into disposable cups or ramekins, and set them on a tray for guests to grab and go. You can try this method for any dish you’re famous for, from pasta salad to mac and cheese.
Pre-pandemic, post-pandemic… you can never go wrong with popsicles. Individually packaged and always delicious, popsicles make for an easy and convenient dessert contribution, especially as the weather grows warmer. Grab a box of variety flavors on the way to the party, an easy last-minute pickup for party procrastinators.
Controversial opinion: go cupcakes over cake. We know, we know, cake is a party staple! But for the sole reason that they are individually wrapped and ready to go, cupcakes are the better bet in the interim. You can still display your cupcakes on a tiered stand to create a show-stopping, mouth-watering centerpiece. And you no longer have to decide between chocolate or vanilla – get both! If you’re adamant about making your birthday wish (as you should be), be sure to read up on our germ-free ways to blow out birthday candles.
4. Fruit and Veggie Skewers
Instead of a communal fruit bowl or veggie platter, prepare skewers ahead of time. Thoroughly wash your hands or put on disposable gloves, then stack your favorite fruits and vegetables on wooden skewers. For fruits, alternate colors for visual appeal – for example, grapes, pineapples, and strawberries. For veggies, slice up some colorful peppers, onions, mushrooms, and more, then throw them on the grill and skewer them together.
5. Charcuterie Cones
If you still want to make an impression but can’t make your signature cheese plate, turn your plate into cute, personal-sized cones! Simply wrap up a paper cone (alternatively, use a Mason jar), and fill it up with your go-to charcuterie ingredients. Think about the different shapes and sizes as you build your cone. For example, place long and wide crackers in the back and tuck smaller cured meats and cubed cheese toward the front in order to create layers. Not into cheese? Use this same technique to display other bite-sized snacks, like piroulines and pretzels.
6. Bottled Refreshments
Tell your host to skip the cocktails and make it easy by contributing bottled or canned drinks. With individual bottles, your drinks come pre-sealed and nobody has to play bartender for the night. Bring along a 6-pack (or a few), and not just beer – mix it up with hard seltzers, wine coolers, sparkling juice or sparkling water. Ask your host to provide a permanent marker so you can keep tabs on whose drink is whose.
Heading somewhere with a firepit? Whether it’s a beach bonfire or a backyard hang, surprise your host by bringing everyone s’mores for dessert! Fill up individual bags with all the fixings: graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows and any special secret ingredients. Everybody will be able to build their own s’more without cross-contamination.
Still unsure what to bring? Never hesitate to ask your host what you can help with, or bring a small host gift, like a small bouquet of flowers or a candle.
Planning your own get-together with friends and family? Browse digital invitations here for any upcoming occasion.