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Holiday Foods from Around the World

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Holiday Food - Blue Plate Catering

While people from all over the world celebrate holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, food traditions vary from place to place. Here’s a fascinating glimpse at some of the food customs from a few countries.

England

As far back as the 13th century, mince pies have been a beloved British Christmas tradition. Fighters returning from the Crusades brought back new and exotic spices that included nutmeg and cinnamon, so British cooks began using these spices in various dishes – one being pies filled with minced meat and dried fruits. Nowadays, these pies are often made with spiced fruits and sugars, rather than minced meat, and served as a sweet dish. 

France

The French enjoy eating oysters year-round, however, consumption of this delicacy greatly increases during this holiday season. So much so that about half of the country’s yearly oyster production is thought to be consumed between Christmas and New Year’s Day! 

Italy 

In Italy, New Year’s Eve is known as “La Festa di San Silvestro”, or St. Sylvester’s Feast. The celebration of this feast revolves around a large meal with loved ones and one traditional dish is a big pot of lentils. As legumes are believed to symbolize money and prosperity, Italians eat a lot of them in hopes of having wealth and success in the new year. 

Japan 

KFC. As in Kentucky Fried Chicken. Believe it or not, this is a must-have Christmas meal for many in Japan! In fact, people wait in long lines for hours outside of these fast-food restaurants on Christmas Eve for carryout fried chicken. Many even begin reserving buckets of chicken up to two months in advance.

Peru

In the month of December, churches all over the country take donations to make large quantities of spiced hot chocolate, as well as panettone (a traditional Italian bread). Both the bread and drink are served to those in need throughout the entire month. On Christmas Eve, also called Noche Buena, Peruvians celebrate with a festive holiday meal that often includes tamales or a roast turkey.

Philippines

Purple rice. Yes, you read that correctly. Puto bumbong, a rice cake made of rice cooked in bamboo tubes before being steamed, is one of the most popular holiday foods in the Philippines. During the Christmas season, and especially following Christmas Eve church services, people line up in the street to get this sweet treat from vendors. It gets its color from a mixture of sweet and black rice and is usually topped with butter, sugar, and grated coconut after it’s cooked.

Sicily

Christmas in Sicily and Southern Italy is celebrated with the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”. As Roman Catholics traditionally fast on Christmas Eve, a sacred meal with at least seven different types of fish is a special event. A few of the popular fish dishes that are served are baccalà, calamari, shrimp, and cod.

Perhaps now you’ll be inspired to try one of these and start a new tradition. Or maybe you’ll create one that’s unique to you and your family!

All of us at Blue Plate Catering wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2016!

Planning a Holiday Party

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Blue Plate Holiday Party

The upcoming holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for many people and requires a lot of planning ahead in order to keep everything together. If you’re planning a holiday party for family or friends, whether it’s a casual cookie swap or a traditional Christmas Eve dinner, follow these tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed and so everyone can enjoy a great party – yourself included!

Give Guests Enough Notice

Calendars tend to fill up quickly this time of year. Run a few dates by those guests who you’d really like to be at the party and then go with the date that works for most. Then make sure everyone “saves the date”!

Select a Caterer and Venue Early

If you are planning to hire a caterer, whether your event will be in your home or at a venue, be sure to make all necessary arrangements ahead of time in order to get on their calendar before they’re booked up.

And if your party will be outside of your home, make sure to reserve a spot at your venue of choice in advance. Look for a venue that’s best suited for the type of party you’re having and the number of guests you’ll be expecting. A quaint, old-fashioned inn offers rustic charm and may be perfect for a holiday tea with a few friends, while a restaurant with private rooms may be better able to accommodate a larger group.

Offer Variety

Be sure to have enough foods and beverages (including non-alcoholic options) available so there’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re having your event catered or preparing your own foods and drinks.

Have Extras

Always plan for a few unexpected guests since, often times, someone that didn’t respond or said they couldn’t make it ends up surprising you by showing up. By having some extra servings of items that require individual portions, and a few additional party favors or activity supplies, you’ll save yourself the stress that accompanies not having enough for everyone.

Mingle and Be Merry

Create a holiday music playlist to add to your party’s festive atmosphere, getting you and your guests in the spirit of the season. Greet everyone as they arrive and let them know how happy you are that they’re there to celebrate with you. Then relax and mingle with everyone.

There are many ways to create a memorable holiday party for guests. Just be sure to start planning early to make the most of this special time of year and enjoy celebrating with those closest to you!

Contact Blue Plate today if you’re interested in catering your holiday party. We’d love to help you celebrate!

Unique Yuletide: Tips for Planning a Holiday Party People Will Remember [Infographic]

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The ultimate goal of a holiday party is to reconnect with friends and family, honor the time of year, and have a good time. For too long, however, holiday parties have represented something else; an opportunity for friends and family to make the finest of small talk, all while plotting their exits. In this infographic, we discuss how to put on the holiday party that your friends will look forward to every single holiday season, for years to come.

”Unique

Like this Infographic? Feel free to copy this code and put it on your own site.

Delicious Fall Comfort Dishes

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Fall Comfort Dishes
 

One of the best things about fall and the crisp weather it brings is the chance to warm up with some delicious comfort foods. Below are some favorite foods
that promise to be tasty and satisfying – perfect for enjoying on chilly days during this time of year.

 

Savory Fall Dishes

 

  • Pasta Dishes
    • Comforting baked macaroni and cheese and cheesy lasagna are fall staples. For a twist on traditional mac and cheese that really represents fall, try
      a recipe that includes butternut squash!
  • Butternut Squash
    • Speaking of butternut squash, this sweet and nutty tasting winter squash is a must have food in the fall. It’s extremely versatile, being used in
      dishes from lasagna and mac and cheese (as mentioned above), to soups and casseroles.
  • Hearty Soups, Stews, and Chilis
    • Chicken noodle soup, corn chowder, beef stew, baked potato soup, tomato basil soup, butternut squash soup, lentil soup, classic beef or turkey chili – any of these are sure to warm you up and are best to have when you’re wrapped up in your favorite cozy blanket.
  • Hearty Meat Dishes
    • Pulled pork with baked beans. A chicken or beef casserole. Chicken with dumplings. Chicken pot pie. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. All of these hearty
      fall favorites are sure to satisfy any cravings for comfort in a dish.

 

Sweet Fall Treats

 

  • Pumpkin Pancakes
    • Whether you have pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they’re sure to become a favorite that you’ll have again and again. Crispy hash
      browns work well as a delicious side.
  • Pies
    • Apple, pumpkin, pecan, pear, sweet potato…the list of mouthwatering pies goes on and on. Whether you go with a classic pie or one of the many
      twists on the traditional recipes, pie just has fall written all over it.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
    • Simple and satisfying, chocolate chip cookies are perfect any time of the year. But there’s something about having freshly baked chocolate chip
      cookies, accompanied by a tall glass of cold milk, that provides the ultimate comfort in the fall.

 

Savor the flavors of fall and pick a few of these comfort dishes to enjoy with your family during the season or to serve at a fall dinner party. The only
difficulty may be deciding which ones to have!

Looking to cater delicious food for a fall event? Contact Blue Plate today.

Best Ways to Make Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner Easier

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Make Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner Easier

For those of you who have been appointed (whether voluntarily or otherwise) with the task of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, take a deep breath. It doesn’t have to be as stressful and full of pressure as it may seem to be. With some good planning and the right preparation, it may even be fun!

So, instead of getting frenzied and panicking, read some of our tips for making hosting Thanksgiving dinner easier…and enjoyable.

Focus on the Meaning of the Holiday

 

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and being grateful for what we have, including our friends and family members – some of those very people you’ll be sharing this holiday with. Instead of focusing on making every little detail perfect, turn your focus to spending quality time with those who will be at your dinner table.

So forego making an elaborate table centerpiece from scratch, and opt for a simple table setting that allows the people around the table, rather than the décor, to take center stage.

 

Keep the Menu Simple

 

With all the exciting recipes you can find just by doing an Internet search or looking through some magazines, there’s no doubt you have a whole list of “fabulous” new recipes that are on your “must try” list. That’s all well and good, but they’ll have to wait until after Thanksgiving. Stick with what you know and, if you absolutely must, try one new recipe – two at most.

 

Ask for Help

 

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to prepare the entire Thanksgiving meal on your own – unless you really want the stress and pressure of it all! To make it easier on yourself, ask guests if they’d be willing to bring an appetizer, side dish, dessert, or beverage – or have some items catered (wink wink).

 

Advanced Preparation is Your Friend

 

Take the time to prepare as much as you can in advance: set your table the night before and include a few dishes on the menu that can be made in advance so you’re not making too much on Thanksgiving.

Determine which dishes will need the oven, which ones will cook on the stove, and which ones may require chilling. If you figure out the timing and make a schedule to follow, you’ll avoid the headache that comes along with having different parts of the meal being done at drastically different times.

It can also help to have some finger foods for guests to munch on when they first arrive. This serves two purposes: 1) It gives guests the opportunity to settle in and mingle, and 2) It gives you some time to finish up any last minute preparations in peace. Genius!

 

Enjoy the Day

 

Remember that your goal is to do whatever you can to relax and enjoy your guests and the holiday. That’s the whole point – not to have the most beautifully decorated home at the expense of your sanity.

If you’d like to ease some of the pressure of hosting Thanksgiving dinner and have some fabulous catering help, contact us today.

Happy Thanksgiving from Blue Plate!