Hosting a dinner party can be great fun, especially when the evening follows a central theme. With so many people making changes to live a greener lifestyle, what better theme than “Green?” Everything from the menu to decor can be planned and executed in an eco-friendly manner, making your event not only environmentally correct, but a great conversation starter for your guests as well. With one part research, two parts creativity and three parts fun, you can throw a party that your guests will love. Here are ten ideas to get your green thought processes started.
Invitations. There are many online options for invitations, so skip the paper and send e-vites instead.
Decor. Keep the decorations simple and natural. A nice centerpiece of wildflowers accented by some multi-colored autumn leaves would be an excellent choice and easy on the budget as well.
Main course. Organic meats are always a better choice, and if serving fish, make sure to serve only those that are harvested sustainably. Wild-caught pink shrimp from Oregon and Alaskan wild-caught salmon are both excellent choices. Or better yet – serve a vegetarian entree.
Save energy with raw sides. A nice gazpacho or Thai slaw salad would make a wonderful starter. Shredded Brussels sprouts and hazelnut pesto with fresh tomatoes not only adds a bright, delicious element to the menu, but makes an awesome presentation as well.
Opt for no-cook desserts. Here, you have tons of options, including no bake lemon cheesecake or beautiful fresh berries with cream.
Portion accurately. No one wants their guests to leave hungry, but try not to cook more than you need. Left over food is wasteful and uses additional resources to store (usually plastic) and reheat.
Cooking Methods – Less Is More. The less energy used in the cooking process, the better. Something cooked quickly on the stovetop will use less energy than something that braises for three hours in the oven.
Beverages – You’ll obviously want to skip anything that comes in a single serving can or bottle, especially plastic. A nice organic wine or home-brewed iced tea with fresh mint would both be nice complements to an eco-friendly dinner.
Dinnerware – Glass or ceramic is the way to go here. But don’t buy anything new – make use of what you already have. Be sure to use cloth napkins in lieu of paper. If you don’t have enough that match for the entire party, purposely mix them up for a fun, casual feel.
Hostess gifts. A lot of times, guests will ask, “What can I bring?” Rather than a bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers, suggest they bring a potted herb or native plant that can be transplanted to your garden when weather permits.
Juliet Eilperin, “Experts List Seafood that’s Sustainable and Extra-Nutritious.” WashingtonPost.com