Any party that pays homage to the disco years -- roughly from 1973 to the end of the decade -- should emulate the era’s no-holds-barred sense of decadence, fun and adventure. Whether the servings are appetizers and finger foods or sit-down courses, the foods from this period are characterized by experimental ideas with emerging ingredients.
Cut the tops from fresh tomatoes, hollow out the insides, and stuff them with cheese, breadcrumbs and herbs for a baked appetizer that is as '70s as the disco ball. Serve them hot or cold -- but watch out for the juices. Similarly, avocado halves with the pit removed beg to be filled with shrimp and mango salsa, or fresh crab with mayonnaise. Cooks who haven’t wrestled with an artichoke for a while will relish the chance to serve stuffed artichokes, filled with seasoned breadcrumbs, melted cheese and strong, citrusy flavors. Make it easy for guests who’ve come in their shiniest jumpsuit with a selection of napkins, salad forks and side plates.
For guests who want to refuel between trips to the dance floor, pick disco-era dips and appetizers. A guacamole dip selection may include authentic Mexican versions, as well as those that play around with outside flavors, including Caribbean, Cajun and Mediterranean versions. Serve the dips with plenty of tortilla chips, which also started to make their mark toward the end of the decade. Cheese logs are a must and really simple to make by rolling goat cheese or cream cheese in herbs, nuts, crushed crackers or seeds until they're ready to serve with crackers. A cultural nod from the era might be a Watergate Salad, a super-sweet blend of cool whip, pistachio flavoring, chopped pecans and pineapple, which is served cold after an hour in the refrigerator.
It might hardly seem like a disco icon, but rice’s popularity as a regular staple ties in with the influx of Asian restaurants during the '70s. Whether it’s for a sit-down phase of a party or a buffet menu item, rice with pineapple chicken acknowledges the growing popularity of Hawaiian-themed ingredients during the era. Elsewhere, a couple of pasta dishes represent '70s riffs on classic Italian dishes, such as pasta primavera and spaghetti carbonara, a luxurious implosion of pasta, dairy and pancetta that will raise everyone’s energy levels for some more “Staying Alive” routines.
The 70s are not the only decade to lay claim to popularizing crepes, but certainly the savory versions stuffed with mushrooms, cheese, cream or chicken have their place at the disco buffet. Likewise, Swedish meatballs are another throwback favorite which are easy to prepare and equally effortless to serve, with guests picking them off on cocktail sticks. Of course, no disco party would be complete without a fondue display. The melted cheese and steak on a fork set-up captures the spirit of the disco era with its easy communal feel and conviviality.
- The Kitchn: 10 Recipes That Defined the 1970s
- Food Timeline: Popular 20th Century American Foods
- Bon Appetit: Party Food of the 1970s, Bon Appetit Style
- Taste of Home: Stuffed Baked Tomatoes
- BBC Good Food: Stuffed Tomatoes
- The Kitchn: Avocado Stuffed with Spicy Shrimp
- Epicurious: Stuffed Artichokes Recipes
- Hellawella: 17 Unbelievably Delicious Ways to Make a Stuffed Avocado
- Lidia’s Italy: Stuffed Artichokes
- Cooking Clarified: Retro Desserts, How to Make Watergate Salad
- California Avocado Commission: Guacamole
- Sunset: 19 Easy Party Appetizers
- Parade: 30-Minute Pineapple Chicken Skillet with Broccoli
- Simply Recipes: Classic Pasta Primavera
- Nigella: Spaghetti all Carbonara
- Lost Recipes Found: Chicken Mushroom Crepes
- Honest Food: Swedish Meatballs
- The Guardian: Double Dip, the Return of the Fondue