Throw a fest for a dozen guests
Sunday, May 16, 2004; Page M08
The prospect of millions of squirming insects descending on the city, red eyes blazing, at first made me resolve to hide under my covers until the cicada mania had passed. But taking the theory that one should embrace what one fears (or at least that's what magazines like Cosmo tell me), I decided to greet the brood with open arms. My friends and I would throw the critters a party -- a "Welcome to the neighborhood, Brood X!" bash.
A bug-inspired menu was, of course, in order. Actually noshing on the little beasts was a bit too much to stomach, so instead I summoned some insect-themed dishes with a dash of childhood nostalgia: bug juice and grasshopper pie. I last ate my mom's creamy pie around the time the cicadas made their big appearance 17 years ago. The frosty, mint-green confection was all the rage among the Betty Crocker set, and today, it has a retro feel that's as cool as the frozen dessert itself. It's easy to assemble, and you can cut corners by using prepared ingredients, such as premade pie crust.
Also simple but sweet is the bug juice (the summer-camp name for Kool-Aid), which turns into a grown-up punch when mixed with pomegranate juice and spiked with vodka. The brew stars an ice ring with plastic bugs frozen inside (just drop the toys into a Bundt cake pan, fill with water and freeze).
For decor, I created a cicada-friendly environment. A swatch of Astroturf draped over the buffet table made an inspired tablecloth, and an army of plastic bugs sprinkled around the apartment contributed to the creepy-crawly feel. For the finishing touch, I added a bit of drama with a swirl of mosquito netting. To get my guests in a cicada frame of mind and facilitate the happy mingling of humans and insects, I handed out bobble-antenna headbands as people entered -- even hipsters in the crowd got into the act. And the music? Duh: The Beatles, Adam Ant and a few spins of -- well -- John Secada. Emily Heil
11/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 10 large crackers, crumbled)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
32 large marshmallows (from a 10-ounce package)
1/4 cup creme de menthe
3 tablespoons white creme de cacao
11/2 cups heavy whipping cream
About 5 drops green food coloring, if desired
Grated semisweet baking chocolate for garnish
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
(Photos Nate Lankford For The Washington Post)
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