For the past several years, we’ve hosted an Oscars party for our Book Club (plus a few) group, which usually means we have around 20 people at our house (up to 8 of them children) on Oscar Sunday.
This year, with the Oscars happening the earliest ever (on Feb 9) and a lot of germs “going around” we ended up with a totally different (but equally awesome) crew of 11 folks, including our friends Jill & Benny, and their two cutie pie kids (so only 4 lively kids this year). It was the perfect size.
To get ready for the big party, we cleaned the house, which Zoe loved. That second part is not true. In fact, on the way home yesterday, Zoe just told us that she loves us equally: Daddy, because he takes us on adventures & cooks food for us, and Mommy because she “helps us” and keeps the house clean for us... I’m taking the “helps us” as “Mommy is a HUGE help in every possible way” to make up for the fact I am also the maid.
But not on Oscars party clean-up day! Oh, how we cleaned! As a FAMILY!
Bart’s contribution was mostly in the kitchen, since, as I often do, I had looked up some ways to make our Oscars party special. That search led me to a Seattle Times article with recipes for food items ‘Inspired by Best Picture Nominees”. From lame (but on topic) examples like Budweiser and Coke (Ford v. Ferrari) and Mac & Cheese (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) to making our own Poached Pears, as they did in Little Women.
Poached Pears are delicious. If you’re curious, here’s a recipe and here’s a YouTube video that helps make the recipe super easy. Bonus? They make your house smell amazing, which is super great for a party.
We also purchased a “Store Bought Pecan Pie” in honor of one of the best scenes in Marriage Story. Not important here, but we never even opened the pie (we had so much food for our small group), and we’ve had an ant problem recently. You do the math.
The most interesting menu item was Trench Cake, the official recipe released by the government so the public can bake the traditional cake sent to soldiers in the trenches during the First World War, a nod to the movie 1917.
You see, a lot of items were hard to get during the war, which is why this “cake” (ha!) has no eggs and no salt. Sound delicious? Well, I won’t say it was, BUT it was surprisingly not terrible. The best description? It takes like a graham cracker – and not the one covered with sugar and cinnamon… And I guess if you’re in a trench during a war, a homemade “cake” of any kind tastes like heaven.
The photo above is our Trench Cake before cooking. No need for one AFTER cooking, as it looks identical (only slightly darker and maybe a hint bigger). Oh, and the recipe says “cook for 2 hours”. I would not recommend that. It was “done” (clean toothpick) in about 45 minutes.
Imagine the fun Bart had trying those new crazy recipes! Plus, he made two lasagnas (one meat, one spinach) and roasted broccoli. Yes, those items alone would have been just fine for a party. Plus, our awesome guests brought some additions, like bread and an incredible artichoke dip.
But back to the party. We all picked our favorite movies in each category on printed ballots (I won’t say we bet money – or that we didn’t), and the kids played in the back room with Barbies almost the entire night. This year I let Zoe make all my movie picks, since I never win anyway, thinking maybe her instincts alone would help.
While no one could have guessed that Parasite would unexpectedly sweep several categories (including Best Picture), Zoe (& I) only got 4 out of 24 categories right… And 2 of those were ones she had seen.
Anyway, I’ll say the Oscar this year goes to Bart Johnson, who puts up with my wild hair ideas for parties and such. Or, if you ask my children: