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What to Serve at Children's Parties

Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 2 2002

A great party doesn't require an impressive feast. But at the very least, serve some simple snacks -- fruit, veggies and dip, pretzels. If you decide to serve a meal, choose foods that are easy to make, eat, and clean up. Finger foods, such as bite-size sandwiches, fish sticks, or pizza are sure kid-pleasers.

The food can also be a party activity. For instance, have guests add cheese and toppings to individual pizza crusts (buy ready-made dough or crusts, or make your own beforehand); kids can even make silly faces with the toppings. At a pizza party for her daughter's 7th birthday, one hostess baked a "pizza brownie" cake and had guests decorate it with sweet toppings. Then, she served it in pizzalike wedges.

The birthday cake should be memorable. A basic sheet cake, which can be baked the day before, is easy to prepare and can be transformed with a little imagination. Cut and arrange it in any shape you like, and decorate it with gumdrops, cookies, licorice, or frosting. If you don't have time to bake, buy a sheet cake from a bakery or an ice cream cake from an ice cream shop and decorate it yourself to match the party theme. Or for a large party, serve cupcakes. Present the dessert about a half hour before the party ends; if it has been chilled or frozen, allow thirty minutes for it to sit out before slicing.