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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hosting a vegan dinner party this weekend for my gourmet club. The menu is set, but I'd love some ideas about table settings, place cards, decorations, etc. Maybe something plant-y or garden-y? The last time I hosted a club meeting it was a very formal dinner, so I'm looking to make this one a little less formal. For example, I'll probably go with my colorful Fiesta ware rather than my china (plus the idea of using my grandmother's bone china at a vegan dinner party feels very wrong!). Any brilliant ideas that will help to set the mood for a plant-based dinner?<br><br>
I'd also like to find some very gently worded information about veganism that I can print up and have on hand. Since this is a dinner party, I'm looking for something informational rather than preachy. It also needs to be short since people will likely be reading this during drinks and appetizers. Maybe a few different factoids I can print out on pretty cards and leave around? Other ideas?<br><br>
About our group: This is a group of 9 friends that has been meeting for almost 15 years now and it's my first time hosting since I've started the transition to veganism. They are a sophisticated group of foodies and for the most part they have been great about preparing a vegan meal. A couple of mild squawks from the guys about preparing a meal without meat, but just joking. No real objections. I can't wait to see what they all come up with. They're a talented group of cooks so it should be a great meal. I'm planning to take lots of pictures.<br><br>
About the menu: The way our club works is that whoever is hosting cooks the main course and everyone else signs up to bring a soup, side, dessert, etc. I'm planning to prepare a vegan cassoulet as the main course which I'll serve with slices of toasted crusty bread. If you have any other ideas about how to present the cassoulet, I'd love to hear those as well.
 

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If you really want this to be a less formal dinner, I'd totally lose the table settings, place cards and factoids, and let the good vegan food speak for itself <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>offthahook</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3001600"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
If you really want this to be a less formal dinner, I'd totally lose the table settings, place cards and factoids, and let the good vegan food speak for itself <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"></div>
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I hear what you're saying. And if it were a regular dinner party, I'd absolutely agree with you. But... for gourmet club we usually have some kind of theme to the dinner that goes a bit beyond the food. Even when it's a more casual dinner.
 

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I think your ideas are wonderful! Wish I could join in! Your fiesta ware would look great with some of the pumpkins and gourds that are now available, maybe mixed with some of the cut sunflowers and goldenrod that are in most of the stores around here now.<br><br>
Here's a few factoids from Vegan Outreach's "Why Vegan?" brochure that short and to the point:<br><br>
"The competition to produce inexpensive meat, eggs, and dairy products has let animal agribusiness to treat animals as objects and commodities. The world-wide trend is to replace small family farms with "factory farms" - large warehouses where animals are confined in crowded pens or in restrictive stalls."<br><br>
"Virtually all US birds raised for food are factory farmed. Inside densely populated building, enormous amounts of waste accumulate. The resulting ammonia levels commonly cause painful burns to the birds' skin, eyes, and respiratory tracts."<br><br>
"From 1940 to 2008, average per-cow milk production rose from 2 to 10 tons per year, some cows have surpassed 30 tons. High milk production often causes udder breakdown, leading to early slaughter. It is unprofitable to keep cows alive once their milk production declines. They are usually killed at 5-6 years of age , although their normal life span exceeds 20."<br><br>
"The motion picture "Babe" is the way Americans want to think of pigs. Real-life Babes see no sun in their limited lives, with no hay to lie on, no mud to roll in. The sows live in tiny cages, so narrow they can't even turn around. They live over metal grates, and their waste is pushed through slats beneath them and flushed into huge pits."
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Maybe something plant-y or garden-y?</div>
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If you plan on setting out flowers or such on the table, have you considered using edible flowers? The arrangements would not only look nice, but being able to pluck a flower or leaf and add it to your plate seems rather memorable and might go with your theme.
 

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Using seasonal stuff is nice, do you have any garden veggies or plants in bloom right now? i luv the way fall leaves look as decorations, liked gathered together in a basket with ribbon or twine, or strung along a window for color. this time of year reminds me of cornucopias, ya know those horn baskets with fruit and plants like this:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i717.photobucket.com/albums/ww180/buttonlove/imgres.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><img alt="" src="http://i717.photobucket.com/albums/ww180/buttonlove/cornucopia-centerpiece-ideas-800x800.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
wreaths look nice with this type of foliage too
 

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Don't have anything to add to the great posts here. I'm excited about your chance to spread the word through delicious food and information and hope your party goes well! Vegan cassoulet, eh? Don't think anyone here would be mad at ya if you share the recipe. Just sayin'.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, the dinner party was a smashing success. A few jokes, lots of questions, but a very positive attitude overall. I don't think ANYONE but the most determined and devout meat eater could have possibly found issue with the meal. Here's are some pictures from the evening.<br><br>
Table<br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6205088106/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6179/6205088106_0549aeee8b.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Centerpiece (all edible gourds which will become dinner this week!)<br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6205088088/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6153/6205088088_9a3b44e378.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Appetizer 1: Thai Summer Rolls with Spiced Chili Sauce<br><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Thai-Summer-Rolls-240794" target="_blank">http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/fo...r-Rolls-240794</a><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6205100354/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6171/6205100354_ac39784d6b.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Appetizer 2: Squash Vada with Mint Coriander Chutney<br><a href="http://www.vegrecipes4u.com/squash-vada.html" target="_blank">http://www.vegrecipes4u.com/squash-vada.html</a><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6205088138/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6170/6205088138_d0edde59fd.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Soup: African Curried Coconut Soup with Chickpeas (this was by far the star of the evening)<br><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/African-Curried-Coconut-Soup-with-Chickpeas-352349" target="_blank">http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/fo...ickpeas-352349</a><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6205088062/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6178/6205088062_f17325d15e.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Main course: Vegetarian Cassoulet with Stuffed Acorn Squash and Homemade Bread<br><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Vegetarian-Cassoulet-241753" target="_blank">http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/fo...ssoulet-241753</a><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6205088052/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6179/6205088052_0c91b59565.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Desserts: Avocado Cacao Mousse and Fresh Figs with Cashew Cream<br><a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/dessert/sweet-easy-raw-recipe-avocado-cacao-mousse-146032" target="_blank">http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/d...-mousse-146032</a><br><a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/elegant-raw-recipe-fresh-figs-with-cashew-cream-155247" target="_blank">http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/e...w-cream-155247</a><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6205088042/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6172/6205088042_3f5e1bd546.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a>
 

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The table and food look absolutely amazing! I'm definitely going to have to try some of those recipes, they all look delicious. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/yes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":yes:">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/drool.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":drool:"> It all looks good. Squash vada---Hmmmm, I have several small yellow zucchinis that need to be eaten...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/lick.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lick:">
 
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