Graduation Season Is Here!

By Mary Nicholson

Graduation season is just about here.  Actually, for me it’s been here since December, when my son, Alex, graduated from IUPUI.  Even though he’s officially a 2011 graduate, his actual ceremony isn’t until May 13th.  Daughter Emily graduates from Purdue University on May 12th, so we’ll have all sorts of celebrating to do that weekend.  It’s kind of funny how one of the first things that come to mind at the mention of graduation is THE PARTY.

While there are all sorts of parties that can be had, the “open house” format works best in our house.  I like the informal atmosphere, and I usually have time to talk and visit with our guests.  Over the years I’ve learned that my kitchen doesn’t lend itself to certain things, so I plan my menus accordingly.  It’s a small (to me) older kitchen – no island – but it’s still a place where many like to gather.  It’s just a little tricky to be at the stove and be able to visit with my back to everyone.  So I make use of the crockpot for serving and keeping things hot, such as meatballs in BBQ sauce.  The refrigerator is located in a major traffic lane, so I try to make sure most things are out before the party starts.  I usually try to balance the amount of sweet kinds of items with savory ones.

As our kids – and guest – have gotten older, it’s fun to have more “sophisticated” offerings on the table.  The high school graduation parties featured the typical chips and dips, brownies, and a few fresh veggies with a yogurt dip.  Now we’ve progressed to things like baked brie or crackers with cheese like Havarti dill or smoked Gouda!  Oh sure, I still keep the old stand-by’s on hand, but it’s fun to be able to get a little more adventuresome.

So if you have a graduate in your house, first of all, congratulations for achieving that milestone!  Your student didn’t reach it alone, so be sure to celebrate your hand in it as well!  This is certainly an exciting time, so to help keep stress at a reasonable level, here are some ideas for planning a great graduation party.

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