Party Tricks

Posted: June 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Daddio, Food, Housewife Superhero, Other Mothers, Parenting, Sisters | 17 Comments »

Everyone needs a good party trick. Something that’ll wow the crowd you roll with, whoever they are.

And if you’ve got school-aged kids, I’m guessing you’ve been in the eye of the party storm recently. Right now there’s probably some finger food (“healthy, please”) you have to whip up for an end-of-school picnic, or a snack (for 35) for a piano recital. You’re having to remember that Thursday is Crazy Hair Day and Friday’s just a half-day and Saturday the soccer players are each contributing $5 for a gift for the coach.

This time of year for moms is like April for accountants. Our busy season. Teacher gifts, gymnastics performances, field days, staff appreciation lunches. Getting to the end of the school year seems like an endless process.

My mother had a “quality not quantity” philosophy about most things. I see that reflected in how my sisters and I cook. We have a limited repertoire of offerings, but what we do we do well. There are certain dishes—Chicken Marbella, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato spread, sherry poppy seed cake—that may not be on Food and Wine’s latest cover, but are consistent crowd-pleasers. There’s comfort in the classics.

But it’s nice to add something new to the mix, no matter how humble.

That’s why I was thrilled when my former roomie Tanya posted a picture on Facebook last year of a rainbow fruit salad she made for some Girl Scout gathering. It was adorable. And easy. And healthy, damn it.

The next day I took one to a ballet potluck to rave reviews. Teens were taking pictures of it with their cell phones—no lie! The ratio of effort to gushing praise was unbeatable. It’s been my suburban mom party trick ever since.

Here’s one that I made last week:

Cute, right?

If you’ve still got some end-of-the-year events on your calendar, try this out and report back on the accolades you get. I require no credit, but will happily receive royalty payments via PayPal.

At this rate I’ll be bringing this fruit salad to my kids’ college graduations. (Thank you, Tanya.)

Of course, there was a time when my idea of a good party trick didn’t involve a platter of fruit labeled with masking tape with my name on it.

I mean, I’ve never seen anyone chug a goldfish, but I’ve known people who opened beer bottles with their teeth, or knotted cherry stems with their tongues. I’ve seen people ride bikes down stairs, light¬† farts on fire, and do The Worm. I’ve witnessed folks climb up roofs, jump out windows, turn their eyelids inside out, and shave their heads.

Ah, youth. Such foolish acts of bravado. Makes me question sending the girls to college some day.

Some party tricks involve skill. I was proud to see my brother-in-law in action at a family wedding a few years back. It was a late-night karaoke after party—no elderly grandmas around—and he performed the 90′s hit The Humpty Dance. It’s his go-to song, and with good reason. He totally rocked it, had the crowd loving him, and then at the end he dropped to floor in a full split, then pulled himself up and did a spin. It brought the house down.

I was standing and clapping and howling like some studio-audience mom who just watched her son win big on Jeopardy.

I’d keep saving for college for the girls if they could pull off something like that.

My sister Judy and my dad used to have a trick they’d do via phone. She’d ask someone to pick a card from a deck. Then she’d call to “The Wizard” and ask “Could you please tell this person what card they’re holding?” She’d hand the phone over and my dad—I mean, The Wizard—would reveal the card.

Apparently this trick wowed many a drunk at my sister’s college. And gave my father the gratification of being part of a good party stunt. Dad still maintains you can call him any time of day or night to do this. The Wizard, apparently, is always in.

I’d reveal how it’s done but I’ve probably said too much already. And I’d like to stay in the will.

Anyway, the other day we were at a picnic and my friend David offered to open my beer. He took out his iPhone, pushed against the back of the case, and a flat bottle opener slid out. From his phone. It was SO COOL.

Turns out it’s marketing schwag with his company’s logo on it. I begged and whined and pleaded for him to get me one.¬† And last week he did. [Thrill!]

So I think I’m pretty cool now.

I mean, sure, I’ve got the rainbow fruit salad up my sleeve, should I ever need to bust one out. But now this suburban mama’s got a party trick that has nothing to do with kids, thankyouverymuch.

And I don’t even have to wake up The Wizard to do it.

What’s your party trick?


17 Comments on “Party Tricks”

  1. 1 Michael said at 8:51 am on June 11th, 2012:

    Have you seen my “robot” and “moonwalk?”

  2. 2 Cheryl said at 9:09 am on June 11th, 2012:

    I used to do knotting the cherry stem, and touch my tongue to my nose (tongue-based tricks). Also raising one eyebrow. Humans are easily entertained.

  3. 3 kristen from motherload said at 9:17 am on June 11th, 2012:

    I have, Michael. And they are heroic.

    In fact, I think you did the moonwalk for my children and they were all, “What is he DOING?”

  4. 4 FAB said at 9:42 am on June 11th, 2012:

    The Wizard can still tell you the card that anyone has picked, anywherre in the world…….and yes, not telling anyone how has preserved your spot in his will!!!!

    loads of love, Dad!

  5. 5 Amy Jones said at 9:42 am on June 11th, 2012:

    Keg stands used to be my specialty, but at 44, I may have to use the fruit salad rainbow from now on. Thanks for a great idea!

  6. 6 kristen from motherload said at 9:45 am on June 11th, 2012:

    Cheryl: But can you wiggle your ears? (Not that I can…)

  7. 7 kristen from motherload said at 9:47 am on June 11th, 2012:

    Dear The Wizard:

    Good to know you are still on call 24/7. And happy you haven’t outsourced to India (yet).


    Magically-Impaired Daughter of The Wizard

  8. 8 kristen from motherload said at 9:51 am on June 11th, 2012:


    I remember on my graduation weekend in college there was one mom who was at a late night party doing shots. She was the only parent there and everyone was chanting at she drank, etc. It was… totally tragic!

    That said, I’d HATE for you to waste your keg stand prowess at such a young age. (I’m a mere year older than you, ahem.) So I think you should have an adult-only BBQ this summer and wow the other parents on the cul-de-sac!

    Then send me a picture.


  9. 9 Maury said at 9:27 am on June 12th, 2012:

    I can’t stop thinking about stealing this fruit salad idea — brilliant execution!

  10. 10 Tracy in Suburbia said at 1:30 pm on June 12th, 2012:

    I have a great party trick. When I used to take my kids to parties, they would gorge themselves on too much junk and then puke. We were always the hit of the party!

  11. 11 Cheryl said at 5:02 pm on June 12th, 2012:

    I can, in fact, wiggle my ears.

  12. 12 kristen from motherload said at 5:43 pm on June 12th, 2012:

    Cheryl: Marry me.

  13. 13 Jen Burden @WorldMomsBlog said at 6:04 pm on June 12th, 2012:

    LOVE the rainbow. I’m totally doing that. What’s the goat cheese spread? Goat cheese, sun dried tomato and fresh basil? If so, I just learned the cream cheese version, and it’s awesome, but the goat cheese, that could be amazing.

    Buffalo chicken dip used to be my party pleasing trick: one cooked chicken breast shredded, 1/3 cup or more of hot sauce, 1 bar of cream cheese and 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Blend with a mixer, put in a dish and bake at 350 for 20 mins. Not so healthy, but whatev.

    Jen : )

  14. 14 kristen from motherload said at 9:24 pm on June 12th, 2012:

    Ooh, intrigued by your chicken dip recipe, Jen. Will have to try it!

    I looked online for the goat cheese and sun-dried tomato recipe but can’t find it… It’s from my mom’s old 3×5 cards. :)

    You slice baguettes and rub them with spices and olive oil and toast them, then puree a tapanade with sun dried tomatoes and garlic and some other good things, and slap that on a log of goat cheese.

    It never looks terribly polished, but it tastes amazing.

    I’ll happily find and email (or post) the recipe if you (or anyone else) would like!

  15. 15 Katie said at 10:34 am on June 27th, 2012:

    Yo Bruno. I was reading back through your blog and saw this rainbow fruit salad and thought, “MAN, that is exactly the kind of thing that makes the rest of us slacker moms look bad!” Then I made the mistake of leaving the window open, and Tess saw the picture, and now guess what I’m making for her day camp potluck lunch on Friday?? THANKS. THANKS A LOT.

  16. 16 kristen from motherload said at 12:28 pm on June 27th, 2012:

    Ha! Well, Katie, all I am saying is the other moms will BOW DOWN TO YOU. And the thing is, it ain’t hard to do. I’m telling you, this fruit salad is like potluck crack. You will do it again and again.

  17. 17 By Word of Mouth Musings said at 10:38 am on June 28th, 2012:

    yes, send the salivating one here your recipe!

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