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The Dry Party
Miss Melody offers solutions
for non-drinking party animals

As the number of years between me and my college days rapidly grows, I've noticed that it's not quite as easy to get the old gang together for those evenings punctuated by, "Oh let's open another bottle."

Geography, job demands and other considerations make it increasingly difficult to get together. Plus, many of them are reproducing faster than rabbits. So no drinkie drinkie for them.

As one of the few unbetrothed, childless and otherwise completely irresponsible individuals remaining in my circle of adolescent friends, I understand the inherent challenges that this sort of reunion may present. Odds are, your responsible, real-adult friends probably do not want to spend an evening catching up with your sorry (single) life.

It may be fun for you to drink warm beer from a plastic cup, explaining how you met a nice boy who likes the way you prepare swordfish in your underwear. On the other hand, it just might be awkward, especially if children will be present.

So I present to you some fun ways to have a dry party.

One great way to include everyone in a dry party is to plan an activity. This can include anything from a favorite board game (Risk anyone?), parlor games like charades, or maybe an artistic endeavor like scrapbook making or making photo collages. These are fun ways to ignite conversations and recount precious memories of days gone by.

Let's say you're not interested in those activities. In that case, my favorite idea is a smoothie party. It'll get your guests to interact and they'll have something to do. As an added bonus, you can make a smoothie as healthy (or not) as you like. Parents will appreciate its kid-friendliness. Others may enjoy the potential gross-out factor.

As hostess, you'd need a couple pints of plain or vanilla yogurt, some milk or soy milk (depending on tastes/dietary needs), ice cubes, a little sugar, and fruit. If you'd like to trim costs, ask each guest to bring a fresh or frozen ingredient, such as:

  • Fresh ginger and carrots
  • Pineapple and coconut
  • Sweet cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mangos
  • Papaya
  • Bananas
If you're expecting a lot of guests, ask a few people to bring blenders. Set up your "bar" on a table or long countertop. Spread ingredients out, buffet-style so that everyone can make customized smoothies.

If you have those metal milkshake cups, place them at the front of the line so that guests can use them to pour ingredients directly into the blender.

You can serve the finished smoothies in any kind of tall glass. If you don't want to wash glassware, go for the aesthetically unappealing/environmental disaster styro cup.

Those who have patience and fundage may want to get some hurricane glasses. For additional flourish, offer twisty straws and pretty fruit for garnish (strawberries, lemons, limes, oranges etc).

Go online ahead of time and create recipe cards so that those who have never made smoothies have some starting points. (Be sure to road test these recipes beforehand to make sure they taste good.)

If all this yogurt and soy milk talk gives you the willies. Fear not. You can always ask your guests to bring the fruit, buy a couple half gallons of vanilla ice cream, get some fudge and caramel sauce and make milkshakes. And remember, if it's got fruit in it, it's got some nutritional value.

Got a question for Miss Melody? Please note that she will not be dancing on tabletops this season. She will, however, do her best to incorporate your dilemma into an upcoming column. Thanks for your input! e-mail Miss Melody.

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