Menus, menu cards, and fun food names

I have so much fun naming my food. Yep, I said it, I rename food for fun (welcome to my life). Some people enjoy sports, some travel, some reading, I rename food.

I think this adds such a creative flair to a party. To give you an example, at the Lee Douglas Christmas party, I chose the following menu from Greta’s Gourmet (I highly recommend them): A festival salad, choice of the following entrees, Prime Rib or Salmon Oscar, chipotle mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and for dessert, mini cheesecake bites and bread pudding. Doug and I added bacon wrapped dates, shrimp cocktail, a meat and cheese plate, and a salmon spread for appetizers. To make it festive, I made the menu to read as follows:

Hor d’oeurves

Bacon Blanket with Wrapped Almonds and Brie
Merry Shrimp Martinis
Charcuterie and Cheese Board
Smoked Salmon Pate Canapes


Festival Salad


Smoked Prime Rib with port wine demi-glace or Salmon Oscar
Harvest Roasted Vegetables
Chipotle Cheddar Whipped potatoes

Dessert Bar

Petite Holiday Cheesecakes
Warm Bread Pudding with Whiskey Butter Jus
Doug’s Festive Fudge

Since it was a Holiday party, I wanted the menu to be holiday related, so I threw the shrimp into miniature martini glasses with the base filled with cocktail sauce and called it a “Merry Shrimp Martini”. The cold of winter inspired my “Blanket Bacon with Wrapped Almonds and Brie”. Instead of just a meat and cheese plate I used charcuterie and cheese board, which sounds so much cooler! The smoked salmon spread went onto toasts and became “pate canapes”. By throwing the word “harvest” in front of the roasted veggies, and using the word “whipped” instead of mashed in the potatoes, the side dishes became much more fun and interesting. For the dessert titles, I simply added “petite” to the cheesecakes, “jus” instead of sauce for the bread pudding, and “festive” to Doug’s fudge. These changes seemed to polish the menu and make it sound much more interesting and fun.

I get a lot of compliments on my food titles. To help you do the same, here are some helpful hints to get you thinking for your next party.

1_Think of the theme and try to find related words

2_ If you are serving a dish, google words that start with whatever letter your dish starts with and find a title you like. Everyone loves alliteration.

3_Or even google the French word for ___________. For me, sauce became “jus” (it just sounds cooler). You don’t have to be fluent in another language to use it, GOOGLE IT!

I recently just hosted a baby shower and did some of the following plays on food names:

If you’re doing a Halloween party, think of scary names like “Creepy Cocktails”, “Sorcerer’s Stew” or “Devil Dip”. You get the point. These are totally meaningless names, but it makes your food fun and gets comments like “how did you think of that”.

My dad always used to say, “Stop putting on the dog”. Which means:

Put on the dog: To make an ostentatious display of elegance, wealth or culture, to try to seem richer or more important than you really are.

It didn’t work, Dad. I will take a hamburger and fries, throw it on a great plate, and call it “Capital Prime Fragmented on Pastry with Frites”. Then serve it on a fancy platter with some leaf lettuce and speared condiments. Wow, we can’t get “Capital Prime Fragmented on Pastry with Frites” at home. When it turns out to be a hamburger and fries, it won’t be disappointing because you put some effort into the name and presentation.

Doesn’t that sound like something fancy that you should try? Whether your party is formal or fun, put some thought into your menu to make your guest feel really glad they came.

Don’t just stop there. If you are having a formal party think of the additional following ways to “put on the dog”:

  1. Make menus and put them into folded napkins.
  2. Print food items names in great fonts onto cardstock and mount them to stands to identify each food.
  3. Print the menus and place throughout the area for interest or 2 sided on each table.
  4. Use an over sized chalkboard and get someone with to write out the menu with cute handwriting (don’t ask me) and hang it in the dining area.
  5. Write menu items out on a plain piece of wood or wooden ornament.
  6. Attach the menu to a take home favor for the guests like an ornament or seed bag.

Just make life a celebration and make people know that you are glad that they are there, you know…put on the dog (in honor of my late dad, WR).