Whenever I host a party, be it a luncheon, bridal shower, or intimate dinner, I like to write (or type) a menu. It informs guests what they are eating and after the party it goes into my envelope of menus and serves as a record of the event. Writing a captivating menu takes some thought and consideration. A green salad with dijon dressing sounds so much more appetizing when it’s called an herb and arugula salad with dijon vinaigrette, doesn’t it? A good restaurant’s menu will be well-edited and carefully written, so why not make your event menu the same? Here are some tips for menu-writing.
• Start by naming the party — Valentine’s Day Dinner, Emily’s Bridal Shower, The Brooklyn Mash-Up — at the top of the menu.
• If it’s a buffet menu, group like items (desserts, salads, cheese dishes, etc.) together.
• Don’t forget to list any cocktails or drinks on the menu.
• Write the date somewhere on the menu. A year or two from the party when you stumble across the menu, you’ll be happy you did.
• Think like a chef and make the food sound delicious. If you’re serving baked brie as a first course, call it something more glamourous like oven-warmed brie with honey drizzle.
• Add the farm or producer’s name, if you know it. Instead of mini berry pies call them berry tartlets or better yet seasonal berry tartlets or Green String berry tartlets.
• Use a different language. I once threw a going away dinner for a friend moving to Spain. The menu was half written in Spanish!
• Keep things simple. Try not to go overboard and write out all of the ingredients to a dish.
• Get creative with the design and add flourishes, artwork, or stamps.