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co-ed baby shower menu -- am I missing anything?

I'm planning a co-ed baby shower for my sister and her husband with 20 guests (plus 5 babies!). The shower is being held at my sister's friend's house about 40 min away, and the hostess has hinted that it would be better if I didn't have to turn on the oven as their apartment gets too hot quickly, so some of my original ideas (bacon-wrapped dates, pigs in a blanket) are out the window... The shower is from 2-5 pm on a Sunday so I don't think anybody is expecting a meal. Here's the menu I'm considering... Does this seem like enough food/variety? Any suggestions or critiques would be welcome!

coffee/tea/wine/juice (hostess is providing)
tamari almonds
baba ghanouj
pita chips
carrots and red peppers
hard cheeses and crackers
baked brie with fig jam and walnuts
pate and little toasts
roast beef crostini with arugula/parsley and horseradish mayo
cucumber-mint tea sandwiches
almond cake (Amanda Hesser's recipe)

other people are bringing:
storebought quiches
storebought cheesecake
lemon bars or sugar cookies

I have some other ideas (shrimp cocktail, brownies) but am not sure whether that's too much!
Thanks for any input!

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  1. Sounds like plenty. Not sure why the host-house-person is concerned about overheating in the winter though.

    1. I am not criticizing, I'm just asking -- how are you planning to transport crostini and cucumber tea sandwiches driving almost an hour away without them sogging up? please do not plan to assemble anything last minute at someone else's house -- you will be more than busy hauling all of the other stuff from the car and setting it up. Anything and everything you bring should be plated so at the most you are removing the plastic wrap. Note: Part of my concern is the description that it is a baby shower for your sister at YOUR sister's, not primarily your, friend's house.

      And if this is truly co-ed (and why is a baby shower co-ed?) what dishes are focused on the men? Do not be surprised or offended if one of them orders out for a couple of pizzas.

      6 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        Good questions! I'll be getting a ride in a car... I had been planning to make the tea sandwiches that morning, stack them up and wrap them in a slighly moistened paper towel, and then wrap in plastic wrap and store in fridge until the party. (Martha Stewart said this was OK!) For the crostini, I was planning to toast the crostini at home the night before and store them in a tupperware, and carry sliced roast beef and washed arugula in ziplocks to the party location to assemble there on a platter... Set the horseradish mayo on the side in a bowl so people can add it if they choose... I thought it wouldn't take too long to slap some meat/greens on each crostino, and she said I could do some assembling there... Bad idea, huh? Maybe I need to rethink...

        The shower is co-ed b/c that's what my sister wanted... My brother-in-law is very excited about the baby too and we thought he should have an equal opportunity to celebrate. Unfortunately all my meat-oriented ideas (except the crostini) have been nixed b/c of no oven... I wouldn't be offended if someone ordered pizza, but do you have any suggestions for cold apps that would please men? (I had also originally thought about a salumi plate but because my sister isn't eating cured meats while pregnant I decided against it... Again, maybe I need to rethink...)

        1. re: hungry_united

          Men eat the same damn thing that women do. Please stop that kind of thinking. And there's no reason that you have to have food that everyone eats. You will have a big enough selection that people will have plenty to choose from.

          1. re: c oliver

            You're right! I think I'm just nervous -- I threw a fabulous birthday brunch with 30 guests for myself last weekend and it came off without a hitch, but somehow since the baby shower guests aren't my own friends I'm more anxious and susceptible to believing that I've planned it all wrong! Thank you for the reassurance!

            1. re: hungry_united

              Oh well, you're a pro then. Your experience and instincts are going to carry you through just fine. I'd probably be freaking over trying to transport everything. But I think your plan is a good one. Just get there early enough. But, hey, aren't all the guests human? If everythings not all pulled together, the first guests can help out. I've done that before --- actually our own party after we re-married :)

        2. re: nosh

          Wow- my baby shower some 16 years ago now was co-ed. And though I don't remember the whole menu, melon wrapped in prosciutto was on it. And I ate it! The good old days.

          1. re: nosh

            A lot of baby showers are co-ed now. It's kind of nice b/c then you avoid any of the really lame games and focus on the couple and their pending arrival.

          2. I think that sounds like more than enough for a between-meals gathering. Co-ed showers are all the rage among my friends - and if your male friends are anything like mine, they'll be pleased as punch with your menu. And you've even got plenty for finger food-eatng babies, if any of your bay-guests are old enough for that kind of thing.

            Have fun!

            1. Dear hungry_united,

              I apologize if I caused you to doubt yourself; it appears that you have thought things through. It also is apparent that you are in good communication with the host who is providing the house -- from your original post, I thought that the extent of the spread you are planning to bring for a midafternoon party might come as a shock (see the "Not About Food" threads about people bringing unrequested dishes to a dinner/Christmas party and the legendary bringing ribs to a bbq thread). I like that the horseradish sauce will be on the side -- will not only help prevent sogging but horseradish is strong and some just don't like it. Unless you have a specific person to assign the assembly, make sure things are done in advance -- you WILL be busy just unpacking and placing items on the tables.

              I am far from sexist, so I'm sorry that c oliver had her head explode. But c'mon, look at the list of items and give a quick impression of who would be more likely to serve/order/eat them. The OP said the host is providing wine (along with other beverages) but omitted mentioning beer. She said there will be about twenty adults, split between men and women, and five babies. So almost everyone will be relatively young adult -- the men will have appetites. I'm sorry, men order roast beef subs (with cheese and everything) not usually crostini with horseradish sauce and cucumber and herb tea sandwiches. So be sure you have enough quiche, and make sure there is bacon in it!

              2 Replies
              1. re: nosh

                Well, nosh, maybe you just hang out with a different kind of male than I do. And it's from 2-5 so even "yourr" kinda man should be fine. I re-read and it still sounds, if not sexist, than at least gender stereotyping which I hate also. But my head didn't explode so no hard feelings :)

                1. re: nosh

                  No worries, nosh! I am glad to have other people's perspectives -- that's why I posted in the first place! -- and as far as prep work goes, you certainly thought of a few things I didn't!
                  The quiche will have bacon, and I've decided to add some sliced dried sausage to the spread, though not a full-on salumi plate because my sister loves that too and I think it would be torture to put one out that she couldn't eat... Also will add more veggie dippers and some fruit to the cheese plate...
                  And it's definitely not a case of me bringing unwanted food to someone else's house (I love that BBQ post -- hilarious!) -- she is providing drinks (maybe including beer -- I'm not sure) and paper products, and I am responsible for the food.
                  Thank you to everyone for your input and advice!!

                2. Your menu sounds great. And the men can eat what the women eat- I can say my husband eats all of these foods and enjoys them.

                  I would add-
                  -- more dippers for the hummus and baba ghanouj (broccoli florets, diff color peppers, zucchini sticks, celery sticks). You'd be surprised how much dip and dippers people will eat.. and all the different colors look so pretty stacked up on a platter.
                  -- fruit platter. buy whatever is on sale at the market that week and serve it sliced on a huge platter or each fruit in chunks in a pedestal bowl. It's healthy, sweet, and goes with the rest of your menu. If you don't want to start putting out plates and forks, you can make mini fruit salads in dessert cups.

                  1. I think your menu sounds nice given the time of day and group of people. I would be inclined to add a seafood dish though. I'd probably use the shrimp cocktail, its a crowd pleaser! I've done a cold beef dish with bernaise sauce and it was well recieved.

                    1. Maybe a hard salami to increase the "meat" options?

                      1. If it helps at all, my friends made bacon wrapped dates for New Years and they were served room temp (he cooked them til the bacon was pretty well done and then put them out on a platter) and they were AMAZING! You might want to reconsider those as I believe they are a great make ahead option and really so delicious and easy to transport.

                        1. While I'm certain this menu would make a wonderful display, will there be an appropriate serving area to do justice to this large menagerie of epicurial delights?

                          I would also be tempted to reaplace a couple of the cakes with a plate of fruits - both fresh and dried.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: CocoaNut

                            Excellent point. We did a party for about 40-50 the day after our daughter's wedding. We bought most things ready-made as we had a FEW responsiblities that week :) But it really was a challenge that morning getting everything in bowls and plates and arranged. We were still doing some of it when people arrived --- but I think most were so hungover from the reception !!! that they didn't notice :)

                          2. where is the "dude-food"? except for the roast beef sandwiches. Maybe all your guys are some form of 'metrosexuals"(is that still going on?) But you have GOT TO GIVE THE MEN SOME FOOD THEY CAN CALL THEIR OWN!!! I am sorry i didnt mean to yell.
                            But really showers suck, and till recently we didnt make men attend them or witness childbirth, I personally think the childbirth thing is actually a good idea, but showers! please, Ladies...Are we really that pissed off at them? Foodswise, (only) I think it would make a great chick outing...but I am a broad, so I like that type of food.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jillcooks

                              Showers CAN suck. I think they should be at night, coed, adult beverages and no stupid games. Hey, what have I described? A party? What a good idea to celebrate the pending birth of a wee one!

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I certainly hope that the one I'm going to in a few weeks is like the one you described, only I wish it were co-ed, as I'm far more comfortable in mixed company.

                                1. re: Caralien

                                  For the life of me, I've never understood why showers are women-only. Especially since weddings and babies frequently involve men. Even a same-sex marriage or birth generally has men in some part of the relationship - brothers, friends, fathers. There will never be an explanation that's rational enough to change my mind on this subject. And I say that even though there was the all-female one for our daughter a few months ago.

                              2. re: jillcooks

                                I've never been to a shower that sucked, but that's because I only go to baby showers of people who I know well (family and close friends). The rest get a lovely gift and an "I'm so sorry I'll be out of town that weekend!" note. Some showers are more traditional, and others are more in the lines of hte part described by c.oliver. But at all of them, it seemed as if the parent(s)-to-be enjoyed themselves, and the hosts made an honest effort. Can't fault them for that.

                              3. Menu sounds great. I'd add carpaccio if men need red raw meat.

                                1. Your menu sounds nice and it will be more than enough food for an afternoon party. Contrary to what some are saying about the "man food", this is not a super bowl party! and you do not need to have wings and beer to make men happy!

                                  My husband is a somewhat picky eater, but he would be perfectly happy snacking on baked brie, carrots and cheese and crackers. If you had some salami, great, but if not, that's fine too. Key word -- snacking.

                                  This is not a full-on meal, and honestly, most people will leave and go have dinner anyway...it sounds great!

                                  1. Do you have enough advice yet?;-) I would cut down on how much you have. It sounds delicious but it might be hard to transport all that, have enough serving platters and a table big enough to make it look nice and not cramped, as cocoanut pointed out. You could easily get rid of the baked brie--pregnant women aren't supposed to eat brie (soft cheeses) as it is, though cooked should kill the bacteria. The same goes for the pate. Crostini can get really hard when premade (did you see last season's top chef?). You could do mini rolls or just sandwich rounds which would make it easier on yourself.


                                    I like chef chicklet's the idea of shrimp cocktail that you could do instead of those. You would have then:

                                    olives and almonds
                                    bana ganoush and hummus with pita chips, assorted veggies (if you did that in one big platter, it would be really pretty
                                    )cheese and crackers
                                    roast beef crostini
                                    cucumber sandwiches
                                    shrimp cocktail

                                    almond cake
                                    lemon bars/sugar cookies

                                    With the time of the party, you could easily cut this all in half but it sounds like you've put a lot of thought into it and I think it'll be great, whatever you decide.

                                    1. my goodness, that sounds absolutely delicious.

                                      1. Wow, thank you everyone for all your opinions! This is my first time posting on the Home Cooking board and it's really great to get so much feedback!
                                        I've decided to cut the cheesecake (and possibly the paté -- though that was my brother-in-law's request so I might just get a small serving). I'm going to add tomatoes to the hummus plate and a big bunch of grapes to the cheese plate. And some cut-your-own hard salami for the manly men! I spoke to my sister and she has voted against shrimp cocktail, so that makes my life a little easier!
                                        Jenhen2: thanks for letting me know about room temperature bacon-wrapped dates... I've only had them piping hot, but I would like to experiment with this in the future...
                                        Chowser: thanks for the note about what pregnant ladies can and cannot eat. I know my sister can't do the brie, but I made the brie/fig/walnut thing for a brunch last weekend and it took 2 min and was devoured so quickly that I figured I'd do it again... I might have nixed this too, except I already bought the round of brie and don't want to eat it by myself instead! I'm going to get some nice hard cheeses (cave-aged gruyere and maybe some piave or ossau-iraty) for the cheese plate, which I know my sister will enjoy...
                                        And i think this shower is supposed to be a party more than anything else -- just in the daytime because most of the guests have young kids. Per the mom-to-be's request there will be no games and no present-opening, which is why I'm making a lot of food since snacking (and hanging out) may end up being the primary entertainment!
                                        Thank you everyone for your help! It's this Sunday so I may report back on how things went...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hungry_united

                                          Pastuerized Brie is now considered safe in pregnancy by major medical groups. Unless it is raw, cheeses are now fair game.

                                          Nos are now: raw or undercooked meats, fish, seafoods, eggs. Fish high in mercury.

                                        2. just wanted to chime in re: the "dude food" issue. i am a man and i think the menu sounds great. i would eat everything.

                                          if you want to up the goumet quotient, skip tamari almonds and instead make a few cocktail nut recipes - roast your own almonds with thyme and olive oil, cashews with maple syrup and lime zest, that sort of thing.

                                          you could expand the tea sandwich list as well - i think that chow actually has a series of interesting tea sandwich recipies. anyhow, several kinds would not hurt, and could involve more meats, smoked salmon, etc.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: andytee

                                            update: well, everyone who said it was too much food was right! i had a feeling this would be the case, but we decided it's better to have too much than too little!
                                            the baked brie (as i suspected) was a big hit, but the only other items that got completely eaten were the plate of sliced sorpressata i got and the almond cake i made (for which people went kind of gaga -- three people emailed me later to ask for the recipe)... i was happy to have small amounts of leftovers of other things though...
                                            had i had more time/energy, i think andytee's idea of making different kinds of nuts would have been nice... i had bookmarked a recipe for candied nuts with candied bacon that sounded really yummy but didn't get around to it...
                                            anyway, thanks again to everyone for your advice!

                                            1. re: hungry_united

                                              Any chance you would post the almond cake recipe here???

                                              1. re: dklipscomb

                                                it's this recipe:

                                                with the following amendments (per a post i saw on the amateur gourmet blog where amanda hesser updated her technique): i didn't use parchment paper, just generously buttered the pan; i used a 9-in springform pan instead of two 8-in (it could be good in a bundt too); and i mixed all the ingredients (in order) in a cuisinart to make the batter instead of using a stand mixer.

                                                i think it's my new favorite cake -- it really is that delicious!

                                              2. re: hungry_united

                                                i know your party has come and gone, but i saw this recipe - for rosemary roasted walnuts - come up on chow and thought i would post if for future reference, or for anyone else following along:

                                                there's a million variations on this sort of thing, and they are all easy to make and tend to turn out well and be impressive.