Holiday Event

The History of the Cascarones

There are numerous party traditions, some unique to certain events while others are common to people around the world. Like the shamrock is to Saint Patrick’s Day or rice is to a wedding, the Cascaron has its own unique place in our Easter celebration activities.

Spice up your Easter holiday with cascarones

The Cascaron, more commonly known as confetti eggs, has been a traditional celebration addition to the Easter season. Basically a simple design, the Cascaron is a hollowed out egg shell; a hole is pierced to the top to get rid of everything inside. This is then filled with confetti or other items, depending on the location and scenario. The hole is then either waxed over or glued over with tissue paper, sealing the contents as a surprise.

History

The concept of the Cascaron is believed to have originated in China. They were later introduced to Europe after Marco Polo’s trips to the East. Culturally, they commonly held confetti or small toys and were used during celebrations. In other cases, some were filled with perfume and capped with wax. During celebrations, men would offer them at women they found attractive.

During the 1860s, Carlotta, the wife of Emperor Maximilian, introduced the Cascaron practice to Mexico, where the contents were common confetti mixed with perfumed powder. Initially, they were used as signs of affection, but gradually became general characteristics of celebration for many of today’s Mexican celebrations.

In Mexico, the Cascaron has been utilized in numerous celebrations from Cinco de Mayo to Easter and other special events. Usually, the specific event will dictate what is to be sealed inside the egg. For example, wedding Cascarones have seeds in them to symbolize new growth.

Making use of the Cascaron

The Cascaron breaks easily and quite frankly, it’s handy enough to throw. It’s just an egg shell, and in many situations people throw them at others or even into the air. Some may even smash them on their victims head, ensuring that the confetti gets down their collars and makes a mess. However, one isn’t supposed to break the Cascarones on the head of another individual.

This is because the significance of the Cascaron is that the confetti showers bring good luck and good fortune to those beneath it, and the egg provides fertility (one of the reasons it’s used at weddings as well). Of course, this means one thing- you don’t break the Cascaron on your friend’s head. You break it over them, to shower them with good fortune.

So, if you’re celebrating the upcoming holidays, the Cascaron is one addition to the Easter goodies basket your kids are going to love. While you can find them at stores during the Easter season, they’re easy to make and you can fill them with toys and other goodies (just be sure to wash them well first). And face it, you’re probably going to want to crack a few eggs too because it’s just that much fun.

Party Preparations for the Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is amongst the longest and most celebrated events in Chinese heritage. Commonly, it’s celebrated anywhere between late January and early February. It marks the beginning of the lunar New Year and ends with the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day, the beginning of spring for the Chinese calendar.

Mention the different flavors you want for your event with your West Texas caterer

This year, the Chinese New Year begins on February 10th, marking the year of the Snake. So for those that are going to celebrate this extremely colorful and extraordinary day this year, there are a few practices and dishes you should consider incorporating into your event.

Practices

First of all, luck and prosperity play a big part in the Chinese New Year celebrations. In fact, the greeting for the Chinese New Year in Cantonese is “Gung hay fat choy,” meaning “may you become prosperous.” You can introduce this to the event to make it more familiar.

Another practice that your guests might enjoy is the offering of money in a lucky red envelope. For the Chinese, this is a sign of prosperity for the New Year. You don’t have to use real money, monopoly cards can work just as well, especially for kids.

While not everyone can enjoy this practice due to city laws and regulations, the use of fireworks is a traditional Chinese New Year practice at the end of the night. It signifies beginning the New Year with a bang (literally).

The Chinese believe the New Year is a time to reconcile and forget all grudges of the past year. Things are starting afresh, so forget about the past and move forward and make life better.

Decorations

When it comes to decorating, the use of Chinese lanterns, commonly red, is an excellent addition to the atmosphere. Combine these with dancing dragon puppets to bring out the essence of the New Year, while also offering some unique entertainment.

It’s easy enough to use the vast online world to research Chinese characters that symbolize good luck and prosperity. With red construction paper and black paint, you can use the characters to decorate your event and wish luck to your guests. Additionally, windows are covered with representations of “good fortune”, “wealth”, “longevity”, and “happiness”, to remind guests of the good fortune that awaits in the upcoming year.

Food

Food is a big part of the Chinese customs during the New Year. For the most part, pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies compose the majority of the festival’s dishes. Most celebrations incorporate a “hot pot” which signifies the gathering of the family and friends together.

Certain foods actually symbolize certain aspects for the New Year. Boiled chicken is often served to ensure that the household, no matter the condition of their finances, can afford something to eat. Combined with Mandarin oranges, which represent good fortune, this could be a very popular dish for your event.

Another symbolic food item is the noodle, which represents long life for the guests. However, noodles must remain uncut to mean anything. Fish is yet another delicacy that holds special meaning in the event; simply displaying it represents surplus for the family.

For those out there that enjoy a vegetarian dish, the Buddha’s Delight is a big draw during these celebrations. It often incorporates ingredients like Fat Choy, bamboo, water chestnuts, black mushrooms, snow peas, and ginkgo nuts that might be a bit hard to come by. Since the recipe itself varies from culture to culture, be sure to bring this up in a conversation with your West Texas caterer to get the right flavor for your event.

The Chinese New Year is a very colorful and exciting event that you can celebrate with your friends and family. With some creativity and the right recipes, you can deliver a luck-bringing event that will ensure you all start the year on a joyful note.

Lucky 2013?

Despite the concept of the New Year, we tend to have a few traditions that we hold on to. In all cases, these are “lucky” as we call it, and will inevitably effect what happens in the year to come. Some of these traditions are as simple as eating black-eyed peas to smooching at the stroke of midnight. There are plenty of traditions, some of which you’ve practiced and others that may seem a little new to you.

Consult your West Texas caterer for your New Year’s event

To start, let’s begin with the classic kiss at midnight. Why do we do it? Traditional belief is that we should kiss our special other to ensure that the relationship doesn’t falter and to keep the bond shared strong throughout the upcoming year.

Making sure things are full

Another practice is for prosperity. The wallet and purse should be full, along with the cupboards at home. Containers should be topped off and the home should be emptied of empty containers. This will ensure that the household enters the New Year wealthy and stays that way. Once the first day of the New Year is here, nothing is to leave the house until the next day.

First visitor of the year

One particular belief is that the first person who steps over your home’s threshold after midnight will have the most effect on you this upcoming year. In this case, it is very lucky if they come bearing gifts, such as food or even salt (a high value commodity in ancient times), or even something as simple as carrying a silver coin as a sign that they bring prosperity.

Lucky New Year dishes

So when it comes down to food, there are several dishes that “take the cake” when it comes to being lucky. The black eyed pea is perhaps the most well-known, bringing general good luck and good financial fortune.

Another lucky dish is lentil soup, particularly because the substance seems to resemble coins. Pork is also thought to bring good fortune because the pig digs forward while the cow stands still, and most other creatures scratch backwards (poultry). In fact, poultry on New Year’s day is thought to bring bad luck, namely because they scratch at the dirt in search of their sustenance, and thus, you may be scratching and scrambling around in search of your own meals this next year.

While your special traditions are your own, you can always count on some lucky help when preparing your event’s dinner plate. Take a moment to consult with your West Texas caterer and prepare a meal that will guarantee your luck this upcoming year.

And with all things considered, luck is just a matter of how lucky you feel inside. Traditions and habits are simply symbols that help us have a little more faith in ourselves so that we can make our dreams come true in the upcoming year. So share your traditions with us so we can all feel luck this New Year’s day!

Hello 2013!

The year is closing in, and we are bound to start planning how to welcome in the New Year. Celebrations, festivities, and some fun are in order, all of which are going to demand some of your attention if you want to ensure your guests welcome the event with plenty of pleasure.

Celebrate your 2013 with your West Texas Caterer

To start, consider what makes this particular New Year so special. There’s been abundant talk about the 2012 Mayan calendar event, so for many of us, it’s going to be the highlight of this next year. What was supposed to happen? What predictions did the populace make? All in fun, it would definitely make a good topic for your holiday event.

A Mayan extravaganza

So consider what is it that intrigues you the most about greeting 2013? Consider a Mayan extravaganza that includes a tropical atmosphere. Stone statues made of Paper Mache along with masks and extravagant colors. Of course, dining would be something else, so be sure to include some traditional dishes. Tamales were made from fresh corn or corn hominy and ground into a dough called “masa,” which was quite nutritional and a little different from the corn meals found in today’s supermarkets. Another traditional favorite is chocolate. The Mayans used the cocoa bean as a form of currency, which is something you might want to incorporate into your event (tipping the bartender or your West Texas Caterer with chocolate) There are numerous ways to have fun by incorporating some of 2012’s trending subjects and welcoming in the New Year.

Back to classics

But for most, tradition is hard to beat. This means that “Dropping the ball” is bound to be a classic event celebration. In adaptation of the classic New York New Year merriment, this is perhaps the most widely approved New Year festivity. A dance ball or globe could be dangled and lowered during the countdown, while your guests wait in anticipation. Of course, the classic food of choice for New York is your sidewalk hot dog or pizzeria pizza pie. While our concept of a hot dog or pizza might be simple, New Yorkers tend to do things a little differently. You may even want to try the New York Hot Dog Pizza idea, taking the best of both and mixing them together for a taste of New York.

Casino style 

Another great spot to stop by for your New Year celebration is Vegas. But, not everyone can afford the trip, so why not do things at home? Set up some card tables and celebrate with fancy dress. Just be sure not to take things too seriously though (use some funny money). But for the most part, the fun is in the dress and the eagerness to use up all the luck you’ve got left over from this last year. Of course, meal time will be slightly different, including entrees that are carried around and easy to eat while everyone enjoys the atmosphere. Finger foods are going to be your choice selection, easy to eat and quick to pick up.

Don’t forget the point

While the event concept might be one thing, remembering what made this last year so special is just as important. Incorporate pictures, slideshows (family pictures and events) that highlight the events of 2012 and remember what it is that brought you to where you are right now, because that is what will inspire us to look forward to what the New Year will bring us in 2013.

Making Magic with Your Menu

Your menu is one essential ingredient that should be taken very seriously when planning your event. While the style and atmosphere of your event has a lot to say about what you’re trying to accomplish, it is the meal that brings magic to the table. For most guests, though they may appreciate the scenery and fun, it is the meal that gives them the reason to consider the event to be a memorable one.

Go food tasting with your West Texas caterer to get an idea of what to put in your event’s menu

What is your theme? Perhaps you are going for an exotic theme, such as tropical during the winter (providing a clever taste of contradiction for your guests). Who is your audience? What will they be wearing? Is this a formal event or will everyone be dressed casually? These are basic questions that need to be answered when planning a menu for a party. However, for a party menu to be appreciated by every guest, it should be able to answer “yes” the following question.

Do You Offer Variety in Your Food Selection? 

It is important that you create variations with your menu. It would be repetitious to provide chicken as a main course if your appetizers contain this ingredient, as well.

It is a good idea to try to mix and match components to see what flavors are appealing and what will work for your event. To do this, you should arrange a food tasting schedule with your West Texas caterer. In addition, it will give you plenty of opportunity to discuss options and see what flavors go well together so that your guests can enjoy the best flavors the house has to offer.

When your menu consists of set plates, it’s important that you provide more than one option.  [tweet this].

The last thing you want to do is end up with someone who doesn’t feel like eating. Be sure that your plates vary so that you cater to vegans, chicken or fish lovers, or even steak aficionados.

Also, be sure to check out all of your options – even the ones that you may not be aware of right now. This is why discussing matters with your caterer is so important; you never know what unique dishes they can provide for your event.

When it comes to the menu, there are plenty of options to choose from. Of course, since this is your event and you’re in charge, it’s your task to make sure that your choices are going to satisfy your guests’ eagerness to eat.

Another Great Christmas Dessert Story

When you say “Figgy pudding,” you’re bound to hear the Christmas Carol chorus: “Now bring us some Figgy pudding.” But have you ever wondered what Figgy pudding really is? When carolers come to the door, have you ever wondered what it is that they’re asking for?

Enjoy traditional holiday treats with your West Texas caterer

This English recipe originated in the sixteenth century as a popular holiday dish. And while it is commonly referred to as figgy pudding, it was sometimes referred to as figgy cake as well, due to its thick and cakelike texture. But for the most part, it was a dessert composed of chopped figs and suet accompanied by eggs and milk. Figs are a very sweet fruit, found native in Asia and the Middle East. But as their popularity grew, they began to be grown throughout temperate zones across the globe.

Due to the very description that Dickens presents in his classic story, “A Christmas Carol,” some say that Mrs. Crachit was preparing this very dish on Christmas Day. It was “like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.” While the term is never used, the appearance and fashion is extraordinarily similar to a festive display of figgy pudding, but we’ll leave everyone to their own imagination on the subject.

For the most part, the carol itself is one of our most affirmed and memorable historical notes on figgy pudding. During the 19th century, this popular Christmas carol was sung by carolers, possibly because the treat itself was given out in appreciation for the entertainment. In fact, a classic chorus includes “We won’t go until we get some, so bring some out here.” While it may seem a little demanding, it’s all in good fun and great for some holiday laughter.

Preparation

What really makes figgy pudding special is the range of ways it can be prepared. (quote to tweet)  [tweet this].

Some prefer a mold where it can be boiled in, while others prefer to bake or even fry it. Once done, cream is the choice topping, but some prefer to use a bit of brandy to light the top and present a spectacular holiday special. Depending on your preferences, Figgy pudding is quite the versatile treat and can be fashioned to suit your holiday needs.

So for this Christmas season, consider baking, boiling, or even frying some figgy pudding for you and your holiday guests. And when the occasion calls for it, be sure you share some with your neighborhood Christmas carolers.

Great Stories of Christmas Desserts

The gingerbread cookie is possibly one of the oldest treats that is still popular today. You can walk up to anybody on the street and ask them if they’ve seen a gingerbread cookie and the first image they think of is “The Gingerbread Man” fairytale. It’s a definite classic, but the truth is, it didn’t start out as a gingerbread man- or cookie.

Consult your Midland Texas caterer to help you prepare your treats this Christmas season

Ginger was an incredibly popular spice in ancient Egypt and Greece, which is where gingerbread likely originated from. A popular treat, mostly because of its ability to overwhelm just about any other scent (often used to cover up foul stenches), the spice was added to breading and other foods to improve flavor. But it wasn’t until the 11th century that gingerbread itself became a popular treat, especially for the holiday season. Because the ginger spice was still a rather expensive spice at the time (and not readily available at the supermarket like it is today), it was reserved for special occasions, such as feasts and weddings.

One of the first recorded gingerbread recipes was a European formula which included ground almonds, breadcrumbs, rosewater, sugar, and ginger. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that eggs and flour were substituted to improve flavor and lighten the texture. Since then, the basic recipe has not changed much, although each baker would probably have their own unique addition or style to define their gingerbread as their own.

Gingerbread men

The mixture would often be pressed into a mold, commonly carved from wood, which would exemplify a story. These stories were most notably of new kings, events, and religious symbols. Bakers would create a wide variety of these cookies according to the occasion, making it a widely universal sweet treat. After baking, the cookies were sometimes laced with edible gold paint for those that could afford such expenses, but thin icing was the topping of choice and would bring out the details of the cookie design. Queen Victoria the First is credited as responsible for making the gingerbread man cookie concept largely popular when she presented visiting dignitaries with a cookie baked in their own likeness. They were so impressed with the idea and it quickly grew in popularity throughout the world as a treat for special occasions- namely Christmas.

While the gingerbread man is noted to have been faster than anyone else (except for the clever fox), you’d be surprised at how much faster your holiday guests will be when you bring out this year’s special dessert. So while they’re enjoying this once rare and royal treat, you can share with them a story of how the gingerbread came to be- and be sure to tell the kids about the story of the Gingerbread Man.

On a special note, gingerbread wrapped in a red ribbon is still a popular treat at holiday fairs, and when presented to someone close to your heart, it is considered a token of love. This makes it an ideal dessert to give your loved ones this Christmas season.

Thanksgiving Desserts You Can Bring

The holidays are here, meaning it’s time to start preparing for the festivities. Thanksgiving is one such big holiday, and is all about bonding with the family, friends, and feasting. Of course, we can’t all be the hosts, and for many of us, we’re probably thankful it’s not our turn to do it. However, even though you aren’t hosting, there is still something you can do, like showing up with a ready to eat addition to the meal.

Thanksgiving desserts with your West Texas caterer

For those attending an upcoming Thanksgiving feast, the one crucial element to your attendance (other than being present) is that you bring something to the table. Of course, what better to bring than some sweetness to the table, dessert, which is a part of the menu everyone looks forward to (especially the kids)? Thanksgiving desserts range from pies to cake and coffee, all of which are offered to supplement the enjoyable evening’s main meals.

What to bring

Fresh into the fall season of harvest time, Pumpkin pie and Pumpkin pudding are definite options for your dessert entrée. And where pies are concerned, pecans are fresh from the tree and good for the pie. There’s also Pumpkin parfait, which includes the yummy flavor of chilled pumpkin parfait mixed with vanilla ice cream (or yogurt) and topped with cinnamon and whipped cream. Regardless of how it’s prepared, pumpkin is a definite ingredient for the holiday’s hungry bellies.

Cheesecake is a great base, but should be topped with strawberries or cherries for some extra sweetness. Of course, a good old pound cake topped with some icing will go great with coffee to keep the conversation going.

The Thanksgiving classic, sweet potato pie, is another never-fail solution to your dessert wishes. Topped with cream, cinnamon, and your grandma’s secret ingredients, it is a great addition to any Thanksgiving event.

Fruity turkey? If you’re looking for something a little exotic, but still simple in nature, this awesome dish is the perfect choice. Simply cut pears, apples, and mandarins into slices. Then fashion them in turkey-like similarity, being sure to include the fanning feather tail (and some raisins for eyes and the gobbler). The ingredients are simple, and it’s definitely something that endorses the Thanksgiving spirit (plus it’s the perfect choice for anyone focused on staying healthy).

Ask for help

Of course, if you’re running low on time to focus on preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving, you can always discuss the wide array of delicious dessert options with your West Texas caterer. They have all the answers to your dessert needs. You can count on the professionals to help you out during the holiday season.

Choosing what to bring to this year’s Thanksgiving event can be difficult with all the tasty dishes out there. And if you’re worried about bringing the same thing as someone else, just be prepared with two different recipes. After all, there’s always room for one more serving.

Holiday Party Planning – Big and Small

The fall season brings on a multitude of holidays, many of which bring together family members and give cause for celebration with fellow co-workers. There is of course, the importance of planning for these events, keeping in mind purpose and those you plan to invite.

Coordinate with your West Texas caterer for a successful holiday party

Whether you’re planning a party for personal or work reasons, there are a few basic principles to keep in mind. First of all, consider the purpose for the occasion. When it comes to holidays, the primary difference is the current trend.

You must consider your audience. Are you focusing on your family and friends, or perhaps getting your co-workers together for some entertainment and celebration? Understanding your audience will give you an idea of how formal you’ll need to be with your invitations.

Remember, keep personal and business separate. If you wouldn’t invite them to an informal dinner with your friends, they may not feel comfortable at a family oriented event. Likewise, refrain from inviting friends to a business event (short of including a date where appropriate).

The next thing to do is prepare a budget for your event. What can you spend and what is necessary to ensure a quality event? Consider location, entertainment, and food costs, so that you know where to allocate funds.

Be sure that you also account for the time necessary to decorate the location. Depending on your theme this year, this may be as simple as a few ornaments and lighting, or it could be as extravagant as costumes to go with extra entertainment units.

What about timing? Something commonly overlooked is when the event is held. Remember that you are not the only party in town, and you want to avoid having to unnecessarily compete with others in order to entertain some guests. Examine what other events are scheduled to occur, and be sure to send out invitations as early as possible so that your guests can amend their schedules and plan to attend (and RSVP as well).

In any situation, be sure that you consult with your favorite West Texas caterer to ensure that all your bases are covered. If you are wondering what meals to serve this holiday season, such as trendy and appetite pleasing dishes, you can depend on a well-versed caterer to help organize a menu that your guests are guaranteed to enjoy.

Big or small, be sure to cover it all when it comes to your holiday event. As long as you plan carefully and make sure that everything is in order, your guests, whether personal or professional, can enjoy an experience they will be looking forward to next year.

Great Variations to the Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

How do you like the flavor of your meal? Do you like it sweet? Or, do you like it spicy? Each chef enjoys their own particular flavor, and when it comes to a feast as grand and spectacular as Thanksgiving, the menu shouldn’t be limited to the same flavor as last year.

Allow your West Texas caterer to add variety to this year’s Thanksgiving feast

While the practice of preparing the same turkey every year seems like the only option, you can make a change this year by preparing things differently. It can be as simple as changing the appearance or taste of the foods. Perhaps, you can be bolder and prepare a completely different meal altogether. After all, Thanksgiving is all about bringing everyone together (despite their differences) with something everyone has in common… their hunger.

Thanksgiving Dinner with a Twist

Turkey roasted with herbs sounds great, but what flavors would you get? You could rub herbs such as garlic and rosemary (they go great with any poultry) in for a different flavor this year.

But, what about a completely different cooking style? Have you ever considered smoking your turkey? Spice rubbed smoked turkey with roasted pear stuffing is a great variation you might try this holiday season.

You could always spice things up with jalapenos and assorted peppers to really heat things up. After all, rarely is turkey presented in such a fashion that would appeal to the spice lovers at the table (those with a few pickled jalapenos at their side to add extra flavor).

Then there is the unique approach of Cajun Turkey with dirty rice stuffing. Prepared as a treat for those that adore a newer flavor, this is perhaps one variation that brings the southern flavor to dinner tables around the nation.

But, what if you don’t like turkey? You could always try another approach such as pork loin roast with apple ham stuffing. But, in the current age of vegan and vegetarian dietary choices, the Thanksgiving dinner table isn’t always the most appealing place.

In these cases, a dish such as braised shallots and vegetables with red wine sauce might be your choice variation this year. This is a wonderful recipe that appeals to those who desire a vegetarian solution to their Thanksgiving dinner this year.

While most enjoy preparing their own Thanksgiving dinner, time can be a cost that not everyone can afford. In these cases, you can always rely on your West Texas caterer to help you decide the best combination and bring it to your dinner table this holiday season.