Kid’s B-day parties: It’s not all pizza and cake

This past weekend was my son, the picky eater’s birthday.  We decided to have the party in our home and to make it more of a Sunday supper with adults and kids, rather than strictly a kids’ party.  My son turned 4, so it was appropriate for parents to hang around and not embarrass their children by being present.

I’ll say it.  I’m sick of the same old same old at kids’ parties.  It’s always pizza, then cake and usually more candy or junk in the goody bags.  I was sick of it last year and tried to serve turkey pinwheels (wraps cut up into small pieces) and fruit kebabs at my daughter’s 5-year old b-day party and no one touched them. So this year, determined not to give up on the idea of adding a little variety to the party menu, I thought about what dish would adults and kids enjoy?  The answer is spaghetti and meatballs.  So I made a traditional meatball red sauce that simmered on the stove all day, but then I also made tiny bite sized meatballs for those kids who don’t like red sauce touching (God forbid) their meatballs.  So here’s how it went down:

Kids came at 4 and played throughout the house as I was finishing the cooking.  At around 5, we had a neighbor come by to do face painting and make balloons for the kids, so I gave each adult: in a bowl, a thick slice of Italian bread, topped with a large meatball, sauce and Pecorino Romano cheese.  They sat down at my dining room table and ate for a bit and talked while I put some spaghetti on the stove.  By the time the adults had finished and the face painting was done, we cleared the table and served the kids the spaghetti (choice of butter only or with red sauce) and the mini meatballs.  I have to admit, it worked great!  The kids loved the idea of spaghetti (who doesn’t) and the parents got to enjoy some good food as well.  Even my picky eater actually put a few strands of spaghetti in his mouth before the cake was served.

Here’s Rachael’s recipe for Sunday Gravy and Spaghetti (Red Sauce), which is almost the same as mine except I don’t use sausage and instead of pork chops I use ribs.  But you could use whatever you want.

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