How to throw a big party without spending a lot of money…..


Whose chili is best? Pick mine, Pick mine!!

Whose chili is best? Pick mine, Pick mine!!

In these days of people keeping a close eye on their wallets…in some cases ever shrinking wallets….you may be thinking about a way to get friends and neighbors together without spending a bundle. No worries,  I’m here for you…. First you find a free venue…like a park, or your backyard…invite your friends and neighbors….and make it a cooking contest. That way they bring all the food, and oh yeah, make it byob! Fiendishly clever, don’t you think? I got the idea from a shindig in my neighborhood this weekend…now this is not unusual for where I live….we have these kind of things every so often, but it always takes someone who’s willing to take the time and effort to make it happen. 

An energetic neighbor named Martha  stepped up to the plate this time, with a fabulous chili cookoff….you bring the chili! And if you didn’t prepare feel up to preparing a big batch of chili, bring a dessert, or chili fixings like grated cheese and sour cream. Yum. 

I made Silver Palate Chili for a Crowd recipe, though I cut the amount of food of it in half, and there were still 20 servings. And I took quite a bit home, but as you can see above, there were tons of entries. And while I love the Silver Palate chili, it’s not too intense for a crowd..some people don’t like the hot…and you can always douse it with Tabasco.

A pulled pork chili...

A pulled pork chili...

There was even terrific bluegrass music provided by another (musical) neighbor, and a roaring bonfire. I wore some old castoffs of my daughters….a much loved school sweatshirt hoodie that is huge, sweatpants, Uggs…..someone asked, “Who underdressed you ?”

The perfect bonfire for roasting marshmallows...

The perfect bonfire for roasting marshmallows...


A pretty good line really …and right on the mark, but who wants their clothes all smoked up? I just threw mine in the wash. Also overheard, some sage advice for parents who have either grown or almost there offspring…”I don’t say why don’t you, or why haven’t you, or you should do this or that…I simply say , let me offer another perspective.” Hmmmm. I like it, and will use it soon.  Or, as soon as I need to give some stealth advice.

2 Responses

  1. Donna,
    I thought I was the only cook around who makes the Silver Palate chili! It is fabulous and easy and everybody loves it! I have been substituting ground turkey for the beef and so far no complaints!
    Great entertaining idea, I’ll try it.
    Thanks, love your blogs.

  2. Hey Caroline, you are not alone!! I have several Silver Palate favorites…the chicken Marbella is a classic, and travels so well… though years ago, I spilled a big, oily, garlicky pan of it all over the back seat of a car I had then trying to carry it to a dinner party…..the car smelled good for weeks.

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