Monday, April 26, 2010

Payback Time...A Derby Party

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As my friend and fellow blogger Reggie Darling says in his wonderful blog, there is no excuse for not reciprocating and paying back all those invitations you've had during the year.  None.  There are great opportunities to have friends over and they need not be lavish or expensive.  Derby Day is one of them. 

The time of day and season couldn't be more perfect, particularly if you have a nice garden where to host the party.  If you schedule your party for 5:00 p.m. everyone will have time to mingle before the actual race starts at around 6:30.  You must have a friend or two who enjoy running the books, i.e. placing bets on the horses! That shouldn't be too hard to organize and its always fun.  Call him beforehand (I'm sure it's a he) and ask him to help.  You will make his day!

Make it Derby Day attire, so everyone has plenty of leeway to dress up and it gives the impression that something more than casual wear is expected  i.e. no jeans or t-shirts! Just because it's a casual menu doesn't mean we don't get to dress up.

I know this is too much to hope for, but wouldn't it be nice?!

The menu is a cinch, and you can go all out and make it yourself or buy some things already made like a sliced ham from Honey Baked Ham.  I have to admit it's one of those things that you can buy that is actually delicious. A couple of casseroles, biscuits, dessert, and you are done.  It is also one of those parties that you need not seat everyone down with place cards etc.  Set some tables out with pretty tablecloths and lots of flowers and lay the plates, napkins etc right on the buffet table.  This is a casual menu, that's what makes it so easy!

 Oh yes, and make sure you have one of those big TVs somewhere in the house were everyone can gather. And don't make them wait for the food too long. Set out the buffet after the winners are announced...not the horses, your guests!  As to mint julep cups, it is perfectly acceptable nowadays to serve mint juleps in highball glasses, so don't panic.  What is not acceptable is paper cups! If you have pretty linen cocktail napkins, now is the time to use them. 

Make sure you have plenty of appetizers, particularly munchies, both outside and inside where you'll watch the race.   A couple of homemade spreads and something hot to pass around.  Go to Costco, you'll find plenty of inspiration there!  Depending on how many people you have, you can add or cut back from the suggestions below.  Keep in mind this menu is very similar to the one served at the Governor's Party in Kentucky after the race so it's quite authentic.  I have eliminated the grits and a couple of other starchy things, considering the time of day and the fact I'm not a Southerner and can't see eating grits after 5:00p.m., but if you want, be my guest!

 Here's the menu, now go out and invite your friends!

Derby Day Menu

Assorted roasted nuts
Smoked Salmon Spread
Cocktail meatballs or frankfurters


Corn Pudding*

Tossed Salad (optional)

Vanilla Ice Cream

White and red wine

*The corn pudding recipe is posted in my country blog My Kitchen by the Lake

Keep in mind this is an early party, so don't be put off  if people leave early.  Remember, this party started at 5:00 so for those of you who hate to stay up, everyone should be happily gone by nine or ten at the latest, promise!


  1. Hello Lindaraxa, m'dear: Thanks for the reference to yours truly, I blush. And I cannot think of anywhere I'd rather be than at your Derby Day bash! If there's anyone's party I'd love to attend, it certainly would be yours. Not only is a fun time to be had by all, but them vittles are sure to be the bestest and tastiest on the planet...
    Your friend and admirer, Reggie

  2. What a wonderful menu and you are right a wonderful way to entertain!

  3. Good afternoon.
    I stumbled upon your blog{s} as I was searching for Derby Day party ideas. I've thoroughly enjoyed skimming through several of your posts and delicious-looking recipes {that I can not wait to try, as I am an avid cook/baker/entertainer/hostess myself}.
    The personalized glasses on this particular post are stunning, and I am in a desperate search for them. They must be added to my china cabinet. Can you give me any information as to where to get them or who carries similar glasses? I would really appreciate the help.
    I hope to be as good of a hostess/entertainer as you... one day.
    Emily Pressley


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