Food Ideas for a Pirate Party

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Unleash your creative side and experiment with shapes and colors as you plan the food for a pirate-themed party. Given that the typical guest is going to be a child, eye-catching presentation is more important than bold flavors and sophisticated bites. Adults aren't excluded, however, so offer a variety of distinctive dishes to sample.

Few images embody the pirate lifestyle more potently than an open treasure chest spilling over with plundered booty. Replicate the look by piling gold-colored finger foods in fast food-style flip-top boxes or Styrofoam containers with a lid. Chicken nuggets become nuggets of gold and fish sticks become bullion. Strategically place jagged-cut cherry tomato halves, radishes and cheese cubes to emulate rubies and precious gemstones. Skewers shaped like little swords allow hungry guests to impale the edible treasures.

Heap platters with fried onion rings and breaded calamari to recreate the chunky gold hoop earrings worn by pirates. Serve them with a selection of dips and sauces, such as mayonnaise, ketchup, ranch and thick tartar sauce. Separate each type of rings to accommodate less adventurous palates. While many children are familiar with the sweet, succulent texture of onion rings, the rubbery texture of the calamari might appeal more to the adults in the crowd.

Create a pyramid of cannonballs in sweet or savory versions. At mealtime, arrange a square of small- to medium-sized meatballs on a tray, then build a pyramid topped by a single crowning meatball. Drizzle the tower with Sunday sauce, a kind of tomato sauce, or a light barbecue sauce. While most ready-made meatballs are sturdy enough, make sure the balls have sufficient consistency if making them from scratch. At dessert time, a pyramid of profiteroles will steal the limelight. Drizzle the tower of cream-filled puff balls in chocolate sauce or melted caster sugar, or simply dust them with the sugar. In all cases, keep a pair of tongs at the ready for guests to liberate their “cannonballs” and transfer them to a side plate, and provide a supply of napkins for messy fingers.

Serve carved fruit in a range of shapes to keep the tropical theme going. For example, slice orange, cantaloupe or even watermelon into segments. Skewer them with makeshift "masts" made from cocktail sticks or wooden kebab skewers to replicate a fleet of galleons. Carve out a watermelon, then fill it with fruit "treasure." Grapes, pineapple and apple chunks, and orange slices are easy to eat at a party. For an adult gathering, steep the fruit salad in a dash or two of rum-based “grog.”

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