Friday, February 25, 2011

It's... Oscar Time!

My best friend Sue is coming down this weekend so we can watch the Oscars together with a few people on Sunday. Before I had kids, she and I would put on THE most elaborate Oscar parties you could imagine. We’d have close to 40 people, all crammed in a room (or various rooms on various TVs) and throwing snark at the show we were all watching. We’d run a pool -- $5 at the door and you filled out a ballot, and the one with the most points at the end of the night won (one year the pot was $175). I was a movie hound at the time, and made it my mission to see every single film nominated in a major category – writing, acting, directing, picture, or music. I found it clouded my judgement; you’d become passionate about a certain film that was nominated even though only you and three other people ever watched it, and you’d vote for that person to win even though they didn’t have a chance. The people who saw none of the films usually did the best, because they just listened to the pundits on TV in the days leading up to it.

I should probably mention that I kind of hate the Oscars. Actually... I loathe them. And yet, I cannot look away. So our idea was to devise a party that would allow us to actually celebrate the cheesiness of them and enjoy watching all of the categories, no matter how overblown the actual production was.

We had an Oscar statue… we’d make montages of everyone nominated by cutting out pictures in magazines and creating these massive posters… one year my friend’s younger sister showed up in this long, sequined, form-fitting gown and acted as the hostess at the door, leading people in (did I mention we also had a red carpet outside that went all along the porch, down the stairs, and out to the driveway?) We had trivia on the commercial breaks where you could win fabulous prizes. Yeah. We went all out.

But we never worked as hard at anything as we did our menu. We’d begin planning it around Christmas, and have amassed a large collection of appetizer cookbooks that I still have. In January we’d begin guessing what movies would be featured and would continue to hone in the dishes, and by Oscar night we had the dishes, the names of the dishes, and elaborate menus written up that would describe each one. They were corny as hell (and groceries were usually over $300 and we’d be up first thing on Sunday morning to begin assembling everything) but we loved it.

A couple of weeks ago Sue found the old menus on her computer and forwarded them to me, and we laughed and laughed and laughed. Sue is the queen of cheeseball writing... the two of us would sit down and come up with ideas, and one would throw out the idea, the other would cheese it up in the descriptions. (I've rarely laughed as hard as I have when we're writing something together... one of these days we need to collaborate.) This Sunday, we’re having about eight people in total, still doing the ballots, but the snackies will be of the “open up the bag and pour it into a bowl” variety. Kids kinda change those priorities (I’d rather hang out with the kids all weekend than cook! Although strangely enough, while my daughter has very little interest in cooking or baking, my son loves it). But we’ll always have our corny menus from the days of yore. So here I present to you, a couple of our old Oscar menus... here's hoping they make you groan. Enjoy the Oscars!

The 2002 Oscar Party Menu!
Sit back, watch the Oscars, and enjoy our Denzel Dips and Beautiful Finds, and groan at our cheesy descriptions (hey, we aim to please). And because everything you see below is made from scratch, Jen and Sue can assure you there will be no A.I. (Artificial Ingredients).

Moulin Rouge Pepper Dip
(Rye bread with red pepper dip)
♪ How wonderful life is, now this dip’s in the world. ♪ You can-can-can and will-will-will love this yummy dip!

Russell Crudité
(Veggie Tray)
As long as he’s a staple on the Oscar ballot, this dish will be a staple at our Oscar party. Just take a look at those succulent carrots, the yummy cucumbers, the, um, celery, and — oh my god, I think the Russians have put secret messages in our veggie tray!

One Shrimp Ring to Rule Them All…
… one shrimp ring to find them. One piece of shrimp to tickle your tastebuds, and in its goodness, spellbind them.

In the Bedshroom
(Feta cheese and breadcrumb-stuffed mushrooms)
You won’t want to bury this fungilicious dish in the woods!

Monster’s Cheese Ball
Made with three different kinds of cheeses, this luscious cheese ball has more zing in it than an electric chair!

Halle Berry Punch
With a mixture of ginger ale, and tastes of orchard apples and cranberry juice, this little recipe packs a huge punch! Kinda like Halle.

Sissy Spanakopita
She’s gone from a pig-blood-drenched telekinetic prom queen to a coal miner’s daughter, and now she’s a tasty Greek treat!

Yeah, yeah, it might not be as fancy as the other dishes, but we can promise you won’t easily forget this wonderf--… what was I saying?

Sexy Beef
(Swedish meatballs)
Spicy yet sweet, like Ben Kingsley’s various roles. The kind of meatballs that would make Don Logan visit your house to try them out. So you might not want to keep them around…

Marisa Tomeitoes
(Avacado-stuffed tomatoes)
You say tomato, I say to-mah-to, you say Marisa won in 1993, Rex Reed says Jack Palance was drunk in 1993… we can’t say if the ballot box was stuffed when she won for My Cousin Vinny, but these tomatoes sure are! (And hey, this time she deserves to be nominated!)

Gosford Bark
(Chocolate bark with roasted almonds)
Upstairs or downstairs, you’ll kill for a taste of this delicious treat!

The 2003 Oscar Party Menu!
We’ve been wiling away The Hours in the kitchen all day to bring you these Catch Me If You Canapés. We hope you are Spirited Away by our culinary delights that we guarantee will leave you Spellbound! We’ve discarded some of our other ideas (Renee Zellburgers, Attack of the Scones, Gangs of New Pork, Road to Fruition) and we hope you enjoy our Adaptations of some traditional foods. You won’t feel Far From Heaven after eating these!

Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Punch
♪ “Give ’em the old razzle dazzle/ Razzle Dazzle ’em!/ Give ’em a punch with lots of zing in it,/ And the reaction will be passionate!” ♪

Worried about the size of your waistline for the nude roll in the hay scene with the sexy young foreign stud? No need to worry, these veggies and dip will keep your waistline so slim that your husband will overlook your adulterous cravings and take you back.

Queen Tortifah Roll-Ups
This is one mighty big appetizer for you all to enjoy. Its rich flavourful centre is fit for a queen. Remember, if you’re good to us, we're good to you! (Tip jar is near the door.) Who’s queen? Why, Queen Tortifah of course!

Polanski’s Piroshki’s
You’ll risk an arrest warrant to try one of these vegetarian delights! A meatless concoction for our herbivore friends, these veggie-filled pastries contain eggplant, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

♪ “You better lose yourself in the candy, the chocolate/ You ate it, you better never let it melt! [in your hands]/ You only get one red, do not miss your chance to eat it now/ This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo!” ♪

Catherine Feta-Shrooms
Get ready for all that ’shroom. Your fight to get the last ’shroom may end up with you behind bars for murder — but they had it comin’. It’s the feta that made you do it.

My Big Fat Greek Baklava
The clock’s ticking and you’re not getting any less full — you’re ready for dessert! Baklava combines “baka” a Greek word for “heavenly” and “lava,” meaning “mouthwatering.” Put it together and what do you have? A heavenly mouthwatering treat! Opa!

Julianne MoOreo Cheesecakes
These heavenly cheesecakes are so good you’ll want to toss that old cake in the garbage! They’ll make you forget about your confused son, your gay husband, and your black gardener… you’ll just want more and moreo!


Ashlie Hawkins said...

That's awesome! I've always wanted to do a big Oscar party, but I don't really know anyone else who really likes watching the whole thing! Guess it's just me and the baby watching it this year!

Efthymia said...

We have been watching the Oscars live ever since they started showing them live in Greece in 1997 -which means we stay up all night, as the show starts at about 3 am for us. I would go to school the next day having gotten no sleep -but I would be very popular that day, with everyone asking me what went down :)

For the past years (close to ten, actually) my sister and I invite friends over, most of whom end up sleeping on the couch halfway through the show. Our menu consists of various kinds of crispy (and very junky) snacks and ice-cream.

We, too, have this love-hate relationship with the Oscars: pretty much every time we support the film/director/actor etc who is close but doesn't eventually win (except for that time when "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" won everything; we were very happy that year), while we complain non-stop about the films/directors/actors etc who weren't even nominated (this year: Christopher Nolan and Danny Boyle for the direction award, and anything "Kick-Ass").

And of course, we HAVE TO watch every film nominated, at least in the "big" categories -we have been very lucky this year, as every film came to greek cinemas before the awards; "Winter's Bone" was the last one, which came out yesterday (but we haven't seen it yet).

It's good to know there are many people like us out there...

Joan Crawford said...

Haha! That sounds like so much fun! I love hostessing! Also, Pimento - brilliant!

Marebabe said...

This is awesome! And funny. :) I finally busted out laughing when I got to "Gangs of New Pork".

@Miss Joan: Nice to see you around. I've missed your clever banter in the Buffy rewatch. I hope all is well for you!

Blam said...

These are awesome.

In the Bedshroom... Pimento... Sexy Beef... Gosford Bark... Like Marebabe, I found the pièce de résistance to be Gangs of New Pork, especially after the brilliant one-two punch of Renee Zellburgers and Attack of the Scones. Right now it's all I can do to keep from brainstorming more dishes: "Stay away from the Groundhog Dip — it tends to repeat on you."

As tacky as they can be, I have a lifelong habit of watching the Oscars. My sister and I would always watch them (Emmys, Grammys, and Tonys too) in bed with our mom, who'd let us stay up as long as we could even though it was usually a school night. I suspect that between the nostalgia and genuine interest it's a habit that'll never be broken, even though most of my friends watch them ironically and half-heartedly if at all.

Austin Gorton said...

Bwahaha! I love it! Clearly, your friend and I share a fondness for terrible, terrible puns (the highest form of comedy, I say).

@Blam: even though most of my friends watch them ironically and half-heartedly if at all.

I know what you mean. My wife and I host an Oscar party each year (though it's much, much lower key than anything Nikki's described here) and many/most of the attendees, I think, watch it ironically or half heartedly. There are some times I think I'm the only one watching it earnestly.

But due to the winning combination of my love for movies and childhood nostalgia of watching the show with my parents, I can't help but watch it that way.

Blam said...

I couldn't help but come up with a day-long menu for this year's Oscars. Sorry it's so after the fact... That's just how I roll lately, as you've no doubt noticed from my lack of participation in the Buffy Rewatch. (Life stuff has been intruding.)

Anyway: We start with some True Grits for breakfast. (Duh.) Lunch is The Social Knockwurst with a side of Egg Salad in Wonderland. For dinner there are 127 Hors d'Oeuvres — I'd list them all, but time is tight; I'm between a rock and a hard place — followed by a main course of either Winter's T-Bone or The King's Quiche, with some Black Flan for dessert. You're welcome to sample a selection of fine ales at the open bar, catered by How to Drain Your Flagon. Enjoy!

Austin Gorton said...

@Blam: That >waves hand over previous post< was comedy genius, my friend.

Blam said...

I've gone ahead and written up a menu for this year's imagined Oscars dinner too. Lest it be bad form to merely link over to the post in which it appears on my own blog, here it is:

For 2012 our variety of entrees includes your choice of salmon, veggies, or steak from The Grill with the Dragon Tattoo. We have Spaghetti & Moneyballs for the kids. Sides include Meloncholia honeydew and cantaloupe to turn your frown upside-down, as well as hush puppies courtesy of The Artist. The omelet station is highly recommended, as the eggs men are first class. You won't go dry thanks to the invention of Hugo Cabernet; also, the cast of The Descendants supplies Hawaiian Punch, and there's some Extremely Strong and Incredible Cocoa. Dessert consists of Tinker Tailor Soldier Pie, Iron Ladyfingers, and My Week with Marzipan. You won't go home hungry — in fact, you'll leave saying, "I super ate!"

VW: feclessa — A feckless contessa.

Blam said...

The link didn't work, so just in case this one doesn't either: