If you watched the season premiere of Man Men on AMC this last Sunday, you were a guest at the party of the season as Don Draper turned “40”. That was one humdinger of a party scene!
In stark contrast to the lavish, sinful Madison Ave shindig thrown for Don by his young, hip wife, Megan, my Mad Men premiere house party could only be likened to the suburban housewife party of the mid-sixties. I spent days channeling my inner Betty Draper – polishing all the silver, and collecting the crystal and then hours in the kitchen preparing home-made party snacks. I would describe my party as cozy, classy and intimate (since I found it very difficult to get people out on a Sunday night.)
I never saw any food as the TV party unfolded on the screen – in my opinion, it might serve them well to get a bit of something to line their bellies and ward off the effects of the copious amounts of alcohol they (regularly!) consume on the show – maybe that’s all they need to become happier, healthier, functioning people – but then, I guess, they wouldn’t be the miserable characters we love to watch. Right?
With a Mad Men color scheme of red, black and white, I served up a buffet of classic comfort food appetizers all in crystal and silver vessels with the backdrop of a vintage, white-on-white, checker-board table-cloth.
Ironically, with all the cooking I did, my (throw-together-in-five-minutes) chips and dips with Lipton Onion soup mix seemed to be the most popular “dish” on the table. One of my party guests even mused how it took her back to her childhood, “When the Lipton Onion Soup Dip came out, it meant it was truly a party!” I guess that’s a compliment – after all isn’t the definition of comfort food that it reminds you of home and childhood? Mission accomplished!
For simple table decorations I placed a full bouquet of red carnations – all the rage back in the sixties – in a glass bowl I found at the dollar store along with red votives in two smaller matching globe candle holders – they didn’t have tea lights back then!
I made little menu labels on the computer with red and black words in a Mad Men-esque font and glued them to folded, red card-stock.
These cocktail-like cups worked well for the shrimp cocktail, though I entertained the idea of using disposable champagne glasses – those would work well too!
For other decor, I found old ads online, printed them out and put in frames I had picked up at the dollar store. I sprinkled around some cocktail paraphernalia and candy cigarettes in ashtrays that I found at the thrift store.
These mini cocktail shakers I found at the party store made nice favors for my guests at the end of the evening – along with the party pack goodies and a pack of candy cigarettes each.
The bar turned out cute with this tray for glasses – I lined up all different types of cocktail glasses in which to serve my guests’ drinks of choice.
Using the AMC Mad Men cocktail guide, I was prepared to mix up the likes of the whiskey sour, Manhattan, old-fashioned and the classic martini. And of course I also stocked the bar with ice, cherries, citrus slices, olives – AND tons of booze!
Again – lots of silver and glass!
The party turned out even better than I could have expected but I was just a little sad that I didn’t get any photos of my guests in their costumes. Everyone dressed up! But once they arrived I was so busy playing the perfect hostess and making sure they all had food and drinks. Betty would have been proud!
Though there was no sexy, French, burlesque, go-go singer at my party, I think we did just fine.
You can catch the rest of the season of Mad Men Sunday nights on AMC at 10pm. What was your favorite scene from Sunday night’s premiere?
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