A menu of traditional African-American foods is a wonderful way to honor a couple's cultural heritage at a bridal shower. Bridal showers seldom involve full sit-down meals, but rather a variety of sweet and savory appetizers and finger foods, together with beverages and a dessert, usually cake. When choosing foods, keep in mind that people will probably be eating with plates held on their laps; choose foods that are easy to serve and eat.
There are a number of savory choices appropriate for a bridal shower. For a main course, consider ham, barbecue or fried chicken. Serve the ham or chicken in bite-sized pieces. Fried chicken fingers can be served with a variety of dipping sauces or as a topping for a salad if you are interested in lighter fare. You can serve slices of ham alone or in small biscuits, or try cubes of ham in corn muffins. Barbecue can be served on small buns. Shrimp and grits is a traditional dish that can be quite elegant. Salmon croquettes are another option. Potato salad makes an excellent side dish. Other side dish and appetizer options include cheese grits, deviled eggs, black-eyed pea fritters and corn pudding. For vegetables, consider sauteed greens or green beans. For a hearty vegetarian main dish, consider hoppin' john, a traditional dish of rice and black-eyed peas.
Pecans are commonly featured in desserts in the American South. Consider cookies made with pecans, pecan pie or bite-sized pecan tarts. Peanuts are also popular; consider peanut brittle or sugared peanuts. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin can be featured in pies and dessert breads. Sweet cornbread muffins served with butter and blackberry or strawberry jam are quite delicious. Fruits are another good choice; choose traditional Southern fruits that are in season, such as peaches or watermelon.
While many of the sweeter choices above can also be used as desserts, do not overlook cobblers (a type of pie with layers of dough between slices of fruit or sweet vegetables) and pies. Pound cake is a classic dessert, as is banana pudding. Bread pudding is rich and delicious, especially served warm and topped with ice cream. A traditional frosted cake is another excellent choice.
Sweet iced tea is the most commonly served beverage in the American South, while punch is considered the traditional beverage for a bridal shower. Consider sweet tea punch, made from sweet tea with lemon and ginger ale to combine these traditions.