Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Care and Feeding of the College Student

The university is sponsoring an event next week called "Be Our Guest." Staff and faculty open their homes to interested students for dinner and whatever other activities the hosts deem appropriate/fun/not too cheesy.

Jay and I jumped at the chance to host and, as far as we know, will be hosting four students for dinner next Thursday night. We waited until the very last minute to register as hosts and so our decision about what "theme" to use was very last-minute as well. We decided to go with "Comfort Food--Southern style," although after actually putting some thought into it I realized that, since we just moved from Chicago, we should've offered Chicago-type food (deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hotdogs, etc). But now that we've committed to Southern Comfort food (Jay wouldn't let me call it that on the registration sheet even though I asked nicely) I'm trying to decide on a menu.

So far I've come up with fried chicken (my best friend Sarah who lurks but doesn't comment--Hi Sarah!--gave me her grandmother's recipe, so now I just need to practice), mashed potatoes and gravy, crockpot macaroni and cheese, skillet cornbread, biscuits, and some green vegetable.

I guess I should provide sweet tea as well, huh.

Does that sound good? Any other suggestions?

21 comments:

TLS said...

For the greens option you have two or three good choices...greens (with onions and bacon/ham, of course), fried okra (buy it frozen...it's easier), or well cooked green beans (with onions/ham).

Josh and I host southern dinners often. We always go for the greens...yummy greens. We use either collard or mustard.

Jennifer said...

Boooo Jay. Southern Comfort Food is an awesome title!

I happen to love, love, love Southern Comfort Food, since my grandparents were southern. Skillet cornbread is THE BEST. And I love all things potatos.

TLS's comment makes me cringe, because my only beef (pun intended) with southern food is the deliberate spoiling of perfectly good greens with slabs of animals thrown in. Ugh. But, that is the true southern way.

Sounds like you are all going to have fun!

Mary Beth said...

TLS--Jay votes for greens, too, but I'm a little nervous about greens for college students. I've recently been reminded of how stinking picky college kids can be about food (especially college women, why is that?) so I'm a little torn. I haven't quite mastered the art of the green bean yet, so that makes me wary, too. And I'm not so crazy about okra except in soups.
So, I think I'll probably just suck it up and go with the greens and be sure not to get my feelings hurt if no one eats them.

Jennifer--Yeah, sorry. We throw slabs of pig in our greens, too.

anna said...

Don't forget some yummy gooey chocolate pudding cake for dessert...or some other equally delicious dessert.

You could do fried green tomatoes (a very fav of mine) and maybe boiled peanuts as an appetizer.

Sweet tea is a must as well as lemonade.

Sounds like alot of fun and wish I was there to partake.

Mary Beth said...

I think Jay's going to make apple pie for dessert.

Do you dip fried green tomatoes in anything or just eat them straight? Of course the challenge is going to be finding tomatoes. Shoot, I can't even find basic produce anymore.

Sarah said...

Wow, that sounds like a lot of food!

anna said...

MB~ seems to depend on where in the south you are. I always ate them with sugar but in AL they ate them with salt and some even ate them with dressing...so I guess you could have a couple options.

And mmmm Apple Pie sounds divine!

TLS said...

You need to coat the tomatoes in egg and then a corn meal mixture of sorts. There are many great recipes out there.

But beware....frying chicken plus tomatoes means both a mess and a last minute rush in the kitchen to get everything out in time (and still hot...cold fried green tomatoes are less than stellar).

We have learned to scale down when hosting others....it can be difficult to have two pans going and to get all the food out at the same time.

Mary Beth said...

Good call, TLS. Add to that putting a baby to bed and things could get pretty hairy. I think maybe veggies and dip for an appetizer.

My mashed potatoes can made a bit beforehand and reheated without incident, I think, and the mac 'n' cheese is in the crockpot. That leaves only chicken on the stovetop and pie in the oven. Greens will, of course, be cooking all day stovetop and taken off the heat at the last minute.

What else am I missing?

Ruth said...

Seems to me that while apple pie is delicious and very southern, that perhaps a sweet potato pie might be good as well!

Kat E said...

CAN I COME? PLEASE?? so hungry...

Mary Beth said...

Sweet potato pie! Nice! Jay has now volunteered to make BOTH!

Sarah--It is an obscene amount of food. But I have no idea who's coming, what they like to eat, what they're allergic to, etc. so I feel like we should have a little of everything. Plus, one of the trademarks of southern cuisine is having obscene amounts of food.

Ritz--You're welcome to join us, but I don't think these kids are ready for you. :)

anna said...

Very good call on the fried green tomatoes TLS! My cravin' for southern food got in the way of reality.

Mmm sweet potato pie sound delicious as well! As well as sweet potato casserole or sweet potato biscuits or sweet potato pancakes....can you tell I love sweet potatoes!

Kat E said...

I should also mention that I remember doing this at DPU (going to dinner at a prof's house), maybe during orientation or something? But anyway, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I want to say they let us drink, but I could just be imagining that..

Mercedes said...

Kat e, I think they let you drink. I seem to remember that, too, or maybe that was law school? It's all just one big drunken haze. :-)

But, seriously, this sounds great -- can I come too? And, if you have one of those picky college women, you could try saying the greens were "braised" with rashers and cippolini onions, just like they do in NYC. They might eat it then!

Jennifer said...

Your comments are turned off on the education post. :(

Mary Beth said...

Fixed!

TLS said...

How did the meal turn out???

Mary Beth said...

Oh, there is so much to tell. It will take several posts. I'll get to it soon.

BTW, TLS, one of the girls who came to dinner is going to "our school" and wants to come visit your church.

TLS said...

Great...send her my way. If you want, I can send her an email inviting her.

Carol Davis said...

This recipe is very cute! My 4 year old daughter loves to help me in the kitchen. This I know will be surely fun & enjoyable for the both of us. I definitely will will give it a try for I'm always trying to find nutritious snacks for her...thanks, Gwen!
Sweet Potato pie
Sweet Potato pie
Sweet Potato pie