Your child is ready to receive First Communion, and you're prepared to witness the sacrament and celebrate with friends and family. But what to serve? First Communion is a joyous occasion, and food will promote everyone's enjoyment of the celebration. You'll need a good variety of food that can be served quickly and to a large amount of people.
First Communions typically take place in the spring, so your opportunities for outdoor celebrations are great. Part of your menu can come right off the grill: barbecued chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs and grilled corn will all go over well.
You can't go wrong with pasta, so serve a ton of spaghetti or penne (also called ziti or mostaccioli) with meat sauces and meatless sauces. Pasta salads are also a big hit, and if your guests are particularly health-conscious, you can appease them by serving whole-grain pastas.
Ham is a traditional dish, especially for Christian celebrations (it's often a main dish at Easter and Christmas). It's a bit of a safe bet, but there's nothing wrong with that: People love a nice glazed or cured ham with pineapple.
Salads are the secret to a great menu. Offer several types: garden, Caesar and even something a little more unusual like a Waldorf salad or another hearty salad that uses fruits and nuts. (Also offer separate bowls. Nobody wants to eat a salad that has been in contact with a steaming helping of pasta).
Everyone loves ice cream, but it can be tricky in warm weather. Cake holds up a bit better, and you may wish to have several on hand: chocolate, angel food, or a lamb cake (a specialty among Roman Catholics). Brownies and cookies will disappear quickly as well.
The tendency of a party host is to overestimate the guest's appetites. Have containers ready for guests to take home leftovers, or be prepared to eat the same food for lunch or dinner the next few days.
If you underestimate and start running out of food, keep the telephone number of your favorite local pizzeria or fried-chicken restaurant handy. Neither is the healthiest choice, but it will be ready quickly, and hey, it's a party.
Budget And Cooking
You need not break the bank (or your back) to entertain your guests; First Communion is a family celebration, and family members will be happy to help prepare some of these simple dishes.
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John Zaremba began writing professionally in 1997. He has worked at some of the country's finest small daily newspapers, including "The Beacon News" and "The Patriot Ledger." Zaremba is a graduate of the University of Illinois.