What is a 'Mystery Dinner' ? This is an idea we read in a magazine several years ago, and have had a lot of fun using. We do not do it real often as it is a fair amount of work for the servers. Michelle and Brooke had a lot of fun planning and preparing this meal. JoAn helped them serve it. The first thing to do is to plan your guest list carefully. Do not invite party-poopers who do not know how to relax and not be in charge. Next, plan your menu. We start by making the menu for a several course dinner. We try and use as many leftovers as possible and also incorporate foods that tend to be liked with a couple of weird ones thrown in. Then the creativity comes in. You need to relabel your menu and add in the eating utensils. For example, instead of corn being on the menu it is called 'gold', the spoon might be called a 'trencher', apple sauce became 'baby food', a 'spear' might be a toothpick or a fork, and water may be a 'Lake Erie cocktail'. It is important to serve at least some sloppy foods like soup and mashed potatoes. Things that are hard to eat without silverware. That is part of the entertainment value. The next step is to print off the menu and organize the kitchen/food.
When the guests arrived, we invited the family that schools with us, you give each person their own menu and ask them to select 5 things for each of the four courses. They will have no idea what they are ordering if you have done a good job renaming the menu. Then the kitchen crew, it helps to have 2-3 servers for a gathering of 10-15, put together the plates as ordered for the first course. The rule at our house is that once you get a piece of silverware off the menu, you may keep it, as long as you don't leave it on your plate when it is cleared. The kitchen crew serves each course one at a time and clears them in between. Each person receives exactly what they ordered. Dessert may show up first with the meat. You may have several beverages and not much to eat. It all depends on what you order.
I am afraid that this first course had a little one in tears. Water, apple cider, brussel sprouts and a knife and fork. A tender hearted daddy traded for the brussel sprouts for some pot stickers on the condition that the trade be reciprocated back at a better course.
Some of the middle boys were more than happy to be silverwareless. They even intentionally sent it back after the course it came with. What is with boys?!!! We all had a good time.
One word of warning based on experience. Don't serve too much food in the early courses or people won't have room later on to eat what is served.
Have you ever tried something like this before? How did it work out for you?