Flashback to the 1990’s when life was simple. The day was over by 3pm, no rent checks were due, and our greatest trials and tribulations took place in the school cafeteria. We didn’t know how good we had it.
We decided to play homage to this great era at our latest Food Group get together. Typically we Food Groupers class it up with gourmet menus, artisan cheese plates, and copious bottles of wine. But this time around we decided to go back to our middle school roots with a pizza party.
We’ve all been there — you get the invitation, beg your mom to let you go, pack up your matching PJ’s, nail polish, and gossip magazines and count down the days until the weekend. Sure, someone’s hand will undoubtedly find its way into a cup of warm water, but sleepovers were the greatest. It was the purest form of freedom one could obtain as a pre-adolescent. Junk food, sugar highs, staying up all night, playing truth or dare, revealing secrets, and mooning over crushes. We covered all our bases. The evening started off with salty, crunchy snacks heaped into big glass bowls, just like the ones set out by movie-moms. And yes, those are black and white photos of classic ’90s heartthrobs cut into various heart shapes adorning our fireplace. What’s a slumber party without an 8×10 glossy of Leo?
Please note, that is in fact a photo of Aladdin from the Disney movie. Why? Because he’s hot, for a cartoon character. Hell, even for a real dude. But the main reason he was featured on the mantle is because when you Google ‘male heartthrobs’ he is the only animated character to come up amidst his flesh and blood counter parts. That deserves a mention.
English muffin pizzas served as the main course and they were just as scrumptious as we remembered. Seriously, when was the last time you had an English muffing pizza? My cousin recalled a birthday party from her childhood where her mom had each guest make their own pizzas with English muffins as the crust and it was a big hit. Hands-on food is always a good idea for parties, whether it’s for kids or grownups (or grownups pretending to be kids, as in our case) because it gets your guests involved and makes the food that much more delicious. We did go beyond the kid palette with our toppings which Jenny and I whipped up before everyone arrived — caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and peppers, crushed pineapples, homemade pulled BBQ chicken a la Jen, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and shards of parmesan took our mini pizzas to a new level. Laughter and stories flowed as we piled each English muffin with our various tasty toppings. Tales of embarrassment, 7th grade heart ache, and the pure, unadulterated bitchiness of middle school girls bounced back and forth as we munched on our hand-crafted pizzas. However, we did wash them down with a few cocktails…growing up has its benefits.
One of Jenny’s signature gorgeous salads accounted for our fruit and veggie requirement, which we quickly eclipsed with midnight brownie sundaes. Obviously we used a boxed brownie mix for this occasion. It is the quintessential slumber party dessert. We doctored it up with the addition of toffee bits and chocolate chunks into the batter. A game time decision to sprinkle said bits of toffee and chunks of chocolate on top of the batter just before baking yielded a tantalizingly crunchy crust, which gave way to outrageously gooey, fudgey brownies underneath. The rich chocolate paired with cool, creamy vanilla ice cream was the perfect finish to a night of nostalgic debauchery. And nary a bra was frozen.