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Sure, this bridal party may nod to a bygone era, but it is a far cry from the “same old, same old” of yesteryear. To put it together, Claire Thomas, the voice, brains, and chef behind her food and lifestyle blog, The Kitchy Kitchen, and her new book, The Kitchy Kitchen: New Classics for Living Deliciously, refreshed dishes formerly reserved for white-glove luncheons, added a simple DIY activity, and created an atmosphere to encourage attendees to graze and chat. Here, her tips for pulling off this elegant—and very fun—soirée.
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Once guests arrive and exchange hellos, pour and pass bubbly, or an equally celebratory sip, out of timeless glassware, like the gilded variety shown here.
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Now, a Toast!
The hostess or hostesses should raise a glass to the woman of the hour and welcome all the ladies, so the party can get underway, and more important, the noshing.
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To keep a relaxed atmosphere, regardless of the buttoned-up theme, invite attendees to serve and seat themselves. Group stemware in a single glass and stack antique starter and salad plates near the preplated bites.
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Ladies Who Lunch
When food is served family style, as is the case at most at-home showers, guests can mix and mingle casually, rather than following the rhythm of a four-course meal.
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Evoke the spirit of a classic 1940s tablescape. Pick an emerald-and-neutral color palette, accented with white, cream, and gold hues. Bring it to life with potted mint and styled limes. Make your cake the center of attention by putting it on a pedestal. A scalloped, hobnail stand is a fitting touch.
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Thomas created the recipe for this teatime staple specifically for the shower. The bite-size refreshment calls for fresh dill, mint, and chives, while soft, buttered white bread wonderfully contrasts with the cucumber’s crunchiness.
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Comfort food can still be refined! For a snack for her besties, Thomas whipped this up by combining grated cheddar cheese, eggs, paprika, dried mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and pale ale, and then spreading the mixture over bread. Broiling the creation until the cheese bubbles and turns golden brown ensures every lady will polish off her portion.
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Yerba Buena Chicken Sandwiches
These salty-meets-sweet sammies marry the taste of apples, vermouth, lemon, and agave nectar with walnuts, whole-grain mustard, shallots, and garlic.
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For this lighter accompaniment, Thomas tossed a bowl of avocado, tomatoes, onion, and radishes with a dressing of puréed anchovy fillets, green onion, parsley, chives, tarragon, mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar, and water.
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Not all showers demand an on-theme game. However, because these get-togethers typically span three to four hours, a DIY activity will help fill up the agenda. Bonus: The finished crafts can double as a take-home favor for guests.
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Provide stencils for everyone to personalize their glasses, or encourage them to freehand stars, polka dots, monograms, and other designs.
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Thomas recommends a family recipe, Devils Food Cake with Marshmallow Frosting, to end the bash on a sugar high. The meringue topping is essentially seven-minute frosting. “But here’s the thing,” Thomas explains. “Every time I’ve made seven-minute frosting, it has never in no universe taken seven minutes. It’s something that definitely requires more time and love, or else it won’t come together.”
Elbow grease and 30 minutes of beating will yield a batch as covetable as the one encasing this double-tier pastry. “You can learn to eyeball the volume and texture, but always play it safe,” Thomas cautions. “You don’t want to end up with a puddle of cake in front of you.”
Find the recipe in The Kitchy Kitchen: New Classics for Living Deliciously.
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While cutting and serving the final dish, encourage the bride-to-be to honor the custom of opening her presents. Our guess is that she won’t object to sharing the limelight with a confection this finger-licking good, especially if she tends to be shy.