Dinner Party

Dear Food52: I Don't Want to Serve Vegetarians Mush

October 12, 2015

Dear Food52,

I'm looking for vegetarian dinner party/large group menus! When I try to come up with 3 or 4 dishes to serve together, it ends up being all scoopy bowl things or else just pasta and salad.



Dear zzzzzz,

Alas, poor mush, we know it well:
The roasted squash, the lentil stew,
the soft, the slick, the gooey goo.
The porridge, hummus, soft beans, too—
What’s a veggie host to do?

Shop the Story

Don’t fret, dear reader, your options abound:
You just want something with a sound.
A crisp, a crack, a crackle-spout:
Things to make your good guests shout!

Let’s start with pizza: Why not that?
Make it thick or make it flat!
Make overnight dough, buy nice fresh cheese,
And pair it with a salad, please.

Your guests will love it, served on a stone,
and in cast iron, you’ll hear them moan,
Just one more! Give me one more slice!
For six guests, three pies will suffice.

Tacos, too, are an excellent choice:
Tell me, who will not rejoice
at soft-crisp shells and fillings too?
Their quantity and style depends on you.

You could go simple, beans and cabbage,
but come on—that’s pretty average.
Make fridge pickles! Buy sour cream!
And avocados! Herbs that are green!

An interactive meal is twice as fun,
And we all like servings of more than one
You can get crispy taco shells,
But blistering soft ones sure are swell

And lastly, toast! Our faithful friend!
Take convention, give it a bend—
serve toast at a party, make the toppings fancy,
the ricotta creamy, the eggplant dance-y.

Again, a salad makes a good friend
To your toast with cheese or beans or veg.
You don’t want a meal that’s salad-only,
Because you’ll feel like a one-trick pony

But find a nice main that allows customization
(With condiments for eaters, DIY-itization)
Then give them a salad, yes that’s what they’ll like!
With market-fresh produce and some acid—some spike.

Okay one more idea, and it’s called a galette
perhaps the best main dish on which you can bet.
It’s impressive! It’s pretty! It’s its own centerpiece!
And you can fill it with greens and MORE produce and cheese.

Make one or two, depending on numbers.
Make your crust in advance, then have a nice slumber.
A nice dry white wine will wash it all down;
At a Riesling I’m sure that nobody will frown.

For dessert, you do you—a cake or some ice cream?
Look on now as your friends, they beam. 
Say goodbye to your guests, with a pat on the tush,
Then tomorrow for breakfast, may I suggest some mush?

What non-mush food do you serve vegetarians? 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • ChefJune
  • Robert Greer
    Robert Greer
  • Olivia Bloom
    Olivia Bloom
  • Catherine Lamb
    Catherine Lamb
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



ChefJune October 13, 2015
Marian!! What a clever poem. [Not to mention all your terrific menu ideas.]
Robert G. October 12, 2015
Seconding the "this rules" comments!

As a vegetarian, here's a trick I like to use: Don't avoid cooking mush, just make the mush more texturally interesting. The other night we make a wonderful risotto with butternut squash and sage, and while the flavors were right, the texture would have left something to be desired if left alone. No problem: We topped the risotto with pepitas and fresh microgreens. Scrumptious!!
Olivia B. October 12, 2015
Love this.
Catherine L. October 12, 2015
I love you so much
Merrill S. October 12, 2015
Marian, I think you just topped Dr. Seuss.