Saturday, June 9, 2012

Weekend Cooking; Green Grad Party!

(Two young party-goers)

We had a spur-of-the-moment party two weekends ago now to celebrate Teenage Boy's graduation.  For the last few years he's attended a laboratory school attached to University of Northern Iowa and the president of UNI decided to close this wonderful school for budget reasons or because they didn't believe in it anymore.It wasn't feasible for the school to stay open.  It's all the same end to an awful equation but the outcome is that given a choice to enter the only other local high school or graduate early he chose the later.  His school was funky and small and the other high school is big.

These decisions did not come down the hill until February.  Teenage Boy started one of two online courses he would need to take to graduate early.  I find that fact alone amazing-his school gives them a full load every year so much so that he only needed 2 classes to fulfill state level graduation requirements!  Wow.  After a very rocky start, he adjusted to this on-line Language Arts class and as he got closer to finishing we decided we needed to plan a party.  He only needed to finish one of the two courses to participate in the ceremony.  The physics course he will have to finish by June 18th to get his diploma.

After attending many grad parties in the past we had some ideas of what we wanted from ours. We also had a limited budget to work from but didn't want to skimp.  You only get one chance at a true high school graduation.  We wanted to offer Teenage Boy's favorite easy foods in an eco-friendly fashion.  

(the food spread-inside away from the bugs)

We celebrated with turkey hot dogs purchased from a local butcher shop (96 dogs total), popcorn freshly popped that morning with chocolate treats sprinkled throughout-very festive-, Bugles (blechh-but he LOVES them),homemade brownies, freshly chopped coleslaw, freshly baked buns and the best part...Root Beet Floats made with a keg of 1919 root beer.  We are not big soda drinkers here but we love an occasional glass of good root beer and this is some of the best!  

(me enjoying my own float with my friend, Lynne)

The menu was easy and we didn't need many tools to eat but we wanted them to be green.  I searched a few local stores for paper plate and cup options either made out of recycled materials or compost-ready.  I couldn't find anything in town so I turned to my global market-AMAZON-and found just what I wanted and for reasonable prices.  I hate not buying things locally and if I'd had more time I might have spent time convincing a local market to order these items for me but I was in a time crunch.

(TB with his Grandma Janice-she and Gpa Dean flew in from Colorado to surprise him)
The Eco-Section...
All the materials we used were either reusable like the spoons, which were local purchases, and the plates, cups, and napkins (made from sugarcane/corn/wheat).  After attending other grad parties we just knew we couldn't have this large trash can overflowing so we found a way around it.  We had a small plastic tub under the outdoor table where the root beer floats were served and had explanation cards on the bins; one was for the compost items and a small one was for the spoons.  I have all the compostable stuff in the same bin now with water in it to help it break down before I add it to our own compost ball.  A few plates and cups made it into our regular garbage bin and that's okay as I know eventually they will break down as well.  The spoons we have set aside for camping and next year's home-to-school lunches.

I'm so glad our party is done-it was exhilarating and exhausting! Score one for green grad!  Now if we could just find a physics professor for free tutoring we'd be in great shape!!

(Future Graduate or two down one to hurry though!.)

This post is loosely linked to Beth Fish Reads weekend cooking meme.
 Click on the link to see many other real food-related posts.  


Libby said...


All the photos are great! I know how you feel about 'groovy girl' not graduating too soon. Three out of my five have flown the nest and it's a strange feeling...

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

Looks like a lovely party-congrats to your son and your family.

Carole said...

Nice post. Have a good week.

Beth F said...

Congratulations!!!! Wow. Way to go TB. I love your approach to the party. We don't drink soda in this house but root beer floats seem like the perfect high school graduation drink.

Little Nell said...

Well done on providing all the favorite foods as well as being green!

Janssen said...

How fun is this?! Hooray for graduation!