Every year, Beloit College in Wisconsin puts out a “mindset list” that clues the rest of the university into what they should expect from that year’s incoming class of freshmen. The 2015 Mindset list came out last week, and I’ll admit, imagining that this year’s college freshmen could have Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson as parents (!) or think LeBron James when they hear “LBJ” makes me feel a bit old. Surely whether you’re a graduate student like me, a junior or senior feeling like your college territory has been invaded by youngsters in the past few weeks, a sophomore moving off campus for the first time, or even a freshman just getting out on your own, you too have felt some growing pains as you’ve gone back to school this year.
For this reason, I decided to throw a “Let’s Feel Young Again” party to rejuvenate minds and bodies before class gets too hectic. This theme goes to show you that almost anything can be a reason to gather together with friends and food and celebrate the fact that regardless of age, we’re all young at heart. Whether you’re as 90’s-nostalgic as me or not, this theme could certainly be tweaked for you and your group of comrades.
What: “Let’s Feel Young Again” Brunch.
For: A group of friends you enjoy spending time with, even in the mornings; couples, classmates, anyone that may have wound up at your place of residence the night before
When: Any weekend morning.
What to Eat: My menu centers around dishes that could transport guests back to childhood. One main thing you will want to consider when planning any brunch is how to get food on table quickly and with minimal effort from you the day of. This is key especially when you’re feeling the Saturday morning effects of a Friday night out. I decided to go with a breakfast burrito buffet as described in Cara and Phoebe’s In The Small Kitchen cookbook. This particular buffet included tortillas, scrambled eggs, cheese, caramelized onions, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and black beans. As a bonus, burritos can be eaten with your hands, which obviously all kids love. Breakfast Quesadillas with Cilantro Chimchurri and Chipotle Crema or Baked Eggs with Tomatoes and Smoky Potatoes would be great crowd pleasers as well.
As side dishes I chose breakfast potatoes that could be started on the stove, finished in the oven, and topped with cheese, sour cream, and green onions in an appropriate smiley face design to keep with the theme (Potato Kugel with Sauteed Shallots and these Spinach Hash Browns could make good substitutes). On top of that, homemade applesauce to replicate one of my favorites sides as a child. The applesauce was a great addition because it was easy to make the day before, slide into a baking dish, and reheat in the morning. I highly recommend this recipe from Baked Bree, one of my very favorite food bloggers.
When trying to coordinate your food with your theme, remember to think creatively. Adding something simple to a dish (like toppings in a smiley face design) could suddenly make that dish fit your theme!
What to Drink: Coffee, and lots of it; juice; and if you’re feeling as rambunctious as my crew was, morning cocktails like mimosas or screwdrivers will never fail you.
How to Set the Scene: I began setting the scene before my guests even arrived. Using FaceinHole, I transposed a picture of each of my guests onto an elderly person with the words “Feeling old? Join your fellow 5th years to feel rejuvenated” on the outside of the invitation and details inside. Once guests arrived, they were made to feel young again. Tables were set with white paper table cloths and crayon centerpieces and guests were encouraged to doodle as they pleased.
Attire: Being that this was a Saturday morning and even my roommates and I were feeling a little off-kilter, we weren’t asking much of our guests by way of attire. A “come as you are” mentality ensured guests could relax, eat, drink, and enjoy their morning bout of pep.
Shannon Kelley is a graduate student at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. She enjoys nothing more than story-telling with friends, especially on weekend mornings.