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Need Menu Advice for 40+ Teens on a Boat...

My daughter's Sweet (?!) 16 is coming up & we have decided to hire a boat that normally does wedding cruises (mainly because it's secure - we can frisk the kids upon boarding (well, at least do a bag search) & no one can get on or off or sneak anything on. Those of you with 16 year olds (or who ever were 16 year olds) will understand our security & safety concerns!

Anyway, about 40+ boys & girls. 3 1/2 hrs from 6:30 to 10pm. Main entertainment DJ & dancing. No sit-down dinner, just easy to eat grazing foods. I know the girls won't eat much at all (God forbid a guy see that you actually eat), but the guys will get hungry. Also, don't want to spend a lot on food that will go to waste, esp. since boat is costing so much already! Our 'Cruise Coordinator' has asked for a menu. I'm thinking:

Fruit Platter
Chicken & Cheese quesadillas
Tortilla Chips & salsa
Potato chips & Dip
Birthday Cake

Know we need something for those that don't like cheese or Mexican. I was thinking a small make your own sandwich bar, but daughter says that's dumb... What do I know? Anyone experienced at feeding hungry 15 & 16 year old boys (and also girls who don't want to appear to be eating?) Any suggestions (& prayers) appreciated!

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  1. We did that for our after prom all night bash, and we had (memory's fuzzy...that was so long ago!)

    -lots of sparkling cider
    -one of those 2 gallon thermoses with a pump, filled with hot chocolate since we were out at night
    -sushi platters
    -finger food sized desserts

    We felt so chic, and sushi is really not a messy food if you get rolls that don't require wasabi and soy sauce. And we chose rolls without raw fish so it'd keep well.

    The thing with eating dips and big sandwiches on a boat is you either need both hands for those kinds of things, and anything that drips on you makes a mess on your fancy clothes. If a sushi roll falls, the rice and seaweed really aren't going to stain clothing. And you can easily eat it with one hand.

    1. For 15 and 16 year old boys, my vote is for pizza, cheap and filling.

      1. Are you looking for a caterer or recipes?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Will be catered - they won't let us bring food on.

        2. Last June, I chaperoned a middle school graduation dance. The school had ordered lost of Chinese food. I saw that the kids, even the girls, went for the spring rolls and other appetizers they could easily eat in a couple of bites--without anyone noticing. The big platters of noddles and rice were much less popular. Most of it went home with the parents after the party. So finger food seems best to me. Little meat balls, dolmas maybe, or aram sandwiches. Dips are messier and "things" can fall into them. Of course, you're talking about 16 year olds, not 13 year olds. Good luck!

          1. don't go too heavy on the food - while a 16 year-old guy can certainly put away the food, he will be pre-occupied most of the evening trying to get some action from one of the young ladies.

            Finger Sandwiches
            "Sushi" (california rolls and other things that can sit out a bit)
            Birthday Cake

            1. I agree re Sushi Maki rolls and Pizza.

              1. Mini foods are always popular...pigs in blankets, mini-burgers, mini-pizzas.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JennS

                  just went to a party with mini-foods - pigs in a blanket, mini burgers, mini crab cake sandwiches, mini reubens, mini bbq brisket sandwiches. it was great, great finger food, very teen friendly.

                2. I would add at least one more "substantial" type of finger food. Since the cruise is at dinner time they're bound to get hungry, I have a feeling the quesadillas would run out quick. I think pizza is a good idea, or mini-burgers. My personal preference would be veggies over fruit, since fruit tends to get ickier when sitting out for awhile, and it also tends to be messier to eat.

                  1. As the mother of a 16 year-old boy, definitely recommend adding something filling for your male guests to the menu. I know your daughter nixed a deli bar, but what about platters of small sandwiches on rolls or cut-up hoagies?

                    1. As a parent of 3 teens (one, a boy) a party is a hit or miss depending on the food. Don't bet that the boys won't eat. If it's there, they will.

                      I know you want something other than Mexican, but if it's not spicy, it will get eaten. I'm thinking taquitos, or mini-chimis. As far as those quesadillas, kids will eat those when they're hot and gooey, but if they set up, I'll bet they'll get passed over. Mini corn dogs are good too...oh...yeah...and anything that goes with Ranch. Chicken fingers are a good bet too. I don't think they'd be inclined to eat sandwiches. Something that where they can stand, dip and snorf it down. And at least one non-meat option.

                      1. In addition to the fruit platter you already mentioned, teenage girls will eat vegetable crudite. You could have some nicer dips for the veggies--for instance, the girls will likely skip a creamy ranch dip, but might be enticed by some hummus. You could of course provide pita or pita chips as well, to get double use of the hummus.

                        You might also consider having some chocolate fondue with the fruit platter--that's really fun for teens, and very festive. And the calorie-conscious can either dip or have their fruit plain.

                        Ditto on the sushi that can sit out a bit, like california rolls.

                        1. I'd recommend anything "make your own." Offer all the fillings, so that those that "don't like Mexican" can just make a plate of random fillings, or make a salad...

                          Taco shells
                          Tortilla (burrito case)
                          Pinto and black beans
                          Sauteed onions and/or peppers

                          Ice cream bar for dessert