Grad Tea Ideas
1. Death By Chocolate - Chocolate candies, chocolate milk, brownies,
chocolate chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream, hot chocolate,
chocolate cake, chocolate bunny body parts. Great theme for April since,
like February, it's a big chocolate month.
1b. Professional Death by Chocolate: Have 10 people or so buy several
servings of their favorite dessert from Chilli's, Fridays, Cheesecake
1c. Potluck Death by Chocolate: Have 10 people or so bring in their
favorite chocolate recipe.
2. Food That's Bad For You - Macaroni and Cheese, Twinkies, Bacon,
Doughnuts, Assorted candies, Potato Chips, Popcorn, Jellybeans, Ding
Dongs, Whipped Cream, Cookies (not Oatmeal or Peanut butter but Oreos and
the like), etc. There's probably a lot of stuff you could get here.
3. Cheese and Crackers - Brie, Camembert, Gruyere, Feta, Chevre, Gruyere,
White Cheddar, Muenster, Fontina, whatever - 100's of types of cheese out
there, $50 on crackers and or bread, $150 in cheese. Should be
4. Funny Shapes and a Couple Sauces - If you haven't noticed, pasta comes
in about a billion shapes and colors. Interesting what you can do with
Semolina and some vegetables. A good combinatorics person could give you
a reasonable coverage. Oh, and people usually like to eat pasta with
something. Fortunately, there are also like a billion different sauces
that go with it, starting with butter and parsley...
5. Shipwrecked - Foods that you'd like to have (or would have) if you were
trapped in an 18th century lifeboat. Citrus stuff - oranges, grapefruit,
lemons. Canned fish - sardines. Biscuits. Herring. Salmon. Tuna.
Kelp or Seaweed soup. Sushi...
6. Breakfast Tea - It's not just cereal, bacon, and eggs out there. At Idris's home, they eat a rice porridge on the weekends that is accompanied by dried fish powder, scrambled eggs with chives, picked cucumbers, tofu with green onions and soy sauce, and so on. Other countries have different sorts of porridges, meats, breads, and traditions and in some of them, breakfast is a really big deal. No Pop Tarts there. A little research could get you an interesting tea...or you could just do cereal and stuff...
7. Cultural Teas - one of the best teas that I remember going to involved some Scandanavian guys who served some kind of noodle dish and a dessert that they eat at home. We've also had Vietnamese sandwiches, Ethopian food, Jamaican, Indian, Chinese, and so on. It doesn't have to be from your country, it can be something that we've probably never tried before. I think there are enough countries in the world to make this interesting. (Greek, Turkish, Polish, Russian, Japaneese, Thai, Korean, Indonesian, French, German, Italian, etc.)
8. Guess the Theme Grad Tea - Hot Dogs, Sausages, Carrots, Cucumbers, Pomegranates, Tomatoes, Bananas, Grapes, Melons........
9. Some Like it Hot - Habnero sauce, Chips and Salsas, buffalo wings, sushi and wasabi, chili, gazpacho, hot ribs, curries, Thai food... Oh, and lots and lots and lots and lots of water... (Although, bread and rice are much better for absorbing the chemicals that stimulate the release of Substance P, the neurotransmitter responsible for causing the pain/hot reaction on your tongue).
10. Things that Faculty Eat - Faculty could bring in some of their favorite foods and recipes.
11. Beer Grad Tea: (This would require an alternate location and alternate source of funding) Buy many different kinds of beers and serve them in 2oz sampler glasses. Then you could also have pretzels, peanuts, goldfish crackers, etc.
12. Mardi Gras
13. Tofu. Real tofu, not the crap Americans call tofu. Tofu can be fresh, dried sheets, dried cakes, served with a variety of textures, and has a milk form which can be served sweet or salty. (((This brings to mind a Hong Kong movie I saw a long time ago where the heroes were restaurant waiters. To distract the villains, the waiter told them "We have about 100 ways of cooking tofu. You look like you want some. Hey! These guys want every tofu dish we have." Then they proceeded to bring out dish after dish that used tofu. - Idris)))
14. Dim Sum
From "The Chinese Art of Tea" by John Blofeld, 1985, p. 57-8.
"Cantonese-style teahouses long ago spread to Hong Kong and have since exercised a world-wide influence. In most countries there are now Chinese restaurants which dispense tea and teahouse-style snacks (dimsum) at lunch time.
Traditionally, tea and dimsum were served for breakfast. Rising early, the Cantonese would fling on their clothes and make a beeline for the nearest teahouse. When I was there the city of Canton must have had some thousands of these establishments, their several storeys furnished with polished blackwood furniture inset with beautifully grained Ta-Li marble. As the prices increased storey by storey, the top floor drew the wealthier patrons. The owners of pet birds usually arrived about an hour after dawn, cage in hand; for it was the custom to take birds out for an airing in the hour when ch'i (life force) is at its purest. Tea, of which there would be at least six kinds to choose from, was infused in lidded bowls (chung) from which one poured it into small handleless cups...."
15. Hell's Tea - Arrange to have a couple grills outside with lots of fire going. You could have ribs and chicken with as many kinds of barbeque sauce as possible. Maybe combine this with a chili cookoff. You could also have corn, peppers, eggplant, kabobs, and so on. People could bring their own steaks and or shrimp...
16. Grass grad tea - All those grains that you eat: rice, oatmeal, barley, wheat, whatever are derivatives of grass. Plus there are some other glorified sorts. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to eat rice, wheat, or whatever. There's got to be an idea in there somewhere.
17. A Mad Tea Party - Tea, Crumpets, Tea, Scones, Tea, Cucumber Sandwiches, Tea, Pastries, Tea and whatever else would be appropriate. Now combine this with unbirthday presents, chess, and hedgehog croquet.
18. Java Jive - like the above but with coffee and whatever else seems appropriate to go with the joe. (Recipe for Chuckwagon Coffee from "The West that Was", Knowles and Lansdale - Take two pounds ground Arbuckle's beans. Dump out the pot. Pour fresh ground beans in pot. Add enough water to bring to hard boil. Boil thirty minutes to an hour. Wipe off horseshoe. Toss shoe in pot. If shoe sinks, boil another hour.)
19. Binary Tea - Some foods go naturally together. Macaroni and Cheese, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Hamburgers and French Fries, Milk and Cereal, - find foods that have pairwise associations to them.