January 12, 2014

Hosting a Zero Waste Dinner Party

I am starting a new job this week, so to celebrate I wanted to host a dinner party. The idea can seem a little daunting, and understandably so. The hours of preparation and the cleanup are tiresome enough. My solution? A potluck! It makes playing hostess so simple, affordable and fun. Everyone gets to bring something that they love to cook as well as try new dishes. In fact, a potluck is so affordable I cooked my part of the meal (using all Organic ingredients), for under $12 dollars in less than one hour! Plus, had we gone to a restaurant, it would have easily cost four times that!
I set the table with all reusable plates, silverware, glasses, and cotton napkins. For the centerpiece, I used upcycled glass jars and filled them with water and fresh Organic rosemary which smelled fantastic! I also made place cards, which always make me feel fancy, using a piece of cardboard that I cut up into five rectangles and then folded in half. After dinner, I recycled them.
As for the food, one of my friends cannot eat dairy or gluten, so we had a really fun challenge to cook dishes that would work for everyone. I made a porcini mushroom soup with lemon, potatoes, and rosemary. I bought all of the ingredients in bulk which not only cut down on the cost of my portion, it made it Zero Waste.
My friends brought BBQ tempeh, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts with walnuts, and homemade vegan "cheesecake" topped with coconut frosting and raspberries. Everything they brought was packed in glass or metal and brought over in reusable or upcycled bags that were recycled.
The most difficult part about hosting a Zero Waste dinner party would be finding alcohol, especially since getting a growler of beer wasn't a possibility due to gluten free dietary restrictions. Also, since I only drink Organic wine, I can't buy refill a bottle anywhere in the city. :( Luckily my friend brought Organic screw top wine (cork free!) and I could recycle the entire thing.

Our dinner was delicious, so much fun, and really easy. In fact, the cleanup was so simple that we did it in 10 minutes and went to a friend's party afterwards! Believe me, after a long night, there is nothing better than coming home to a house so clean, you forget you had a party at all!