I got a well-intentioned email earlier this week, offering me a guest post about hosting an Oscar party. The entire post was included in the email, and it had suggestions like buy gold-colored paper plates, plastic Oscar statues at a party store, and a disposable red paper carpet for your guests to walk on. The key to throwing a great Oscar party, apparently, is to be able to gather everything up in a paper tablecloth at the end of the night and throw it all in the trashcan.
Let me ask you something: at any point during Sunday night’s Academy Awards festivities — before, during or after — do you think Brad and Angelina will be eating off paper plates? Drinking from disposable plastic wine glasses? Walking on a red carpet that Angelina’s heels could rip? Of course not.
They, along with the rest of the Hollywood elite, will eat their party foods from fine china, drink their champagne from crystal, and sit at tables covered in cloth. All of these items will make their way to a kitchen or laundry at the end of the evening to be washed and used again.
As we sit in living rooms across the country on Sunday night watching the Academy Awards, we should be doing the same. We should be using real plates and glasses. China and crystal would be fun, but everyday dishes and mason jars will do the trick, too.
The Academy Awards must give a big boost to the local economy in Los Angeles. The feast that Wolfgang Puck is creating for the post-awards Governor’s Ball is probably giving a boost to local food providers. I can imagine the limousine services get a lot of business that night, too. The preparations for the night’s festivities must touch many area businesses.
We should give our own local economies a boost when preparing for our viewing parties. Our cheese plates should include local cheeses. Chef Puck may serve Moet & Chandon to his guests, but our bubbly should come from local wineries. Other wines and beers can be bought locally, too.
On Access Hollywood, Puck demonstrated the chicken potpie he will be making for this year’s Governor’s Ball. If you’re having a party or you're taking a dish to a party, that’s a great option. Buy some free-range chicken breasts from locally raised chickens, use this 20-minute quick, moist chicken breast recipe to cook them, and make your own individual potpies or one big one.
Will you be watching the Academy Awards at a viewing party this year? Think about what you can contribute to the table that’s durable or local. If you have any great ideas, post them in the comments.