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Potato what?

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Potato martinis are a less-than-obvious fun food

By Deanna Godman

What do mashed potatoes and martinis have in common? Not much unless you attended Terri Cooper’s Mashed Potato bunco party in February. It was Cooper’s turn to host the monthly bunco club, and she thought it was time for something a little different.

“I felt like we were all tired of winter and tired of the same old thing,” said Cooper. “I wanted to do something fun to get us out of the winter blues.”

Cooper told all of her guests to bring their favorite martini glasses and dress in ‘50s attire.

“I didn’t tell anybody what we were doing,” said Cooper.

When Cooper’s guests arrived, she had ‘50s music playing, specifically songs from the mashed potato dance craze.

The highlight of the evening was the mashed potato bar.
Cooper prepared a huge quantity of mashed potatoes which she kept warm in a crock pot on the bar. She set out toppings beside the mashed potatoes, and allowed guests to serve themselves.

And what were the martini glasses for? The guests ate mashed potatoes from them.

“Something about eating out of martini glasses was so fun,” said Cooper.

The toppings bar included gravy, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, garlic salt, green onion, butter, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese. The most popular topping was the homemade meatballs.

Cooper made the meatballs herself, although she said frozen meatballs would work too. For the sauce, she combined a can of cranberry sauce with whole berries and a jar of salsa. She has had the recipe for a long time, but only recently thought to pair it with mashed potatoes.

If she ever does this theme again, Cooper plans to add another topping: chicken and dumplings, but with thick homemade noodles instead of dumplings.

The variety of toppings was a hit. Guests went back for seconds and thirds, trying different topping combinations each time.

The bunco hostess usually serves a snack or a dessert, but Cooper said since some of the women come straight from work, that some hostesses have been serving a full blown dinner. That is also why she made the meatballs. She thought if her guests had not had dinner yet, that they might want more than just mashed potatoes. Cooper got the idea for the party from her sister, who went to a catered party with the mashed potatoes and martinis theme.

“She knew right away that she had to call me because my favorite food is potatoes,” said Cooper.

She found that the most difficult part of the party was finding the right clothes. She wore rolled up jeans, white bobby socks, a ponytail with a scarf around it and a scarf around her neck.

“It was hard to find clothes for the ‘50s,” said Cooper.

The best dressed award went to Sue McGehee, who wore a poodle skirt. The prize was the 3 compact disc compilation set of mashed potato songs that Cooper played during the party.

Cooper was not sure how many potatoes to make, so she cooked all of the potatoes that she had in the house.

She was able to fill her large crockpot and still had enough leftover to repeat the party the following evening with her family of 7. Her kids loved eating mashed potatoes out of glasses.

“I think everybody should try to do it. It brightened up every one’s day,” said Cooper. “It doesn’t have to be fancy. What makes it fancy is that you’re all together and having fun.”

Do you have any fun party ideas that you would like to share? Contact Deanna at ideas@funmama.net.