Your living room is your set, and you are the set manager when you host an Oscars party. And that set has a focal point — your TV or whatever device you use. Let us help you with the logistics.
To make your hoopla an award-winning affair to remember, plan well. Check out our appetizers. But besides food, there are two other things to keep in mind: a good line of sight, and ready access to those classy snacks.
1. Make sure all the seats have a good view of the screen. Create stadium seating. The first level can be pillows on the floor, camping chairs, and bean bag chairs. The next level: a couch and chair formed in a semi-circle around the ground level seating. Lastly, place tall bar stools around the back.
2. Don't let a rogue stool move to the front. People will move around, but try to maintain order.
3. Never put a bar near the TV because it will interfere with the guests' viewing. Instead, put most of the food and drinks in the kitchen. You can turn on soft music in there, which will create a smaller, second party for people who'd rather talk than focus on the screen.
4. Set up a satellite table in the TV room, but in the back or off to the side. There should be a few bites of food and drinks there so people can refresh without traveling to the kitchen.
5. If you've done all these things right, you're living room will be the destination for the Super Bowl, Oscars, or any TV-viewing event. For more ideas on what to serve, check our Academy Awards Cocktail Party.
But first, try these recipes.
Baked Mussels with Pepperoni Rice
Five pounds of mussels in the shell, cleaned and de-bearded is just the start of these elegant boats filled with Calasparra rice, which absorbs a lot of moisture without losing firmness. A bunch of finely chopped pepperoni, anchovies, tomato paste and other ingredients provide the salty, sharp, sweetness to round out the dish. Get our Baked Mussels with Pepperoni Rice recipe.
Hey, would a cocktail by any other name be as highbrow? Raise yours and see for yourself as you sip this mixed drink that gets a dose of designer-level panache with some St. Germain elderflower liqueur. You must serve it in a martini glass, or it doesn't count. Remember, the trappings are important. Get our Sophisticate recipe.
Whether or not your friends have gluten intolerance, they'll do more than tolerate these thin chick pea pancakes rolled around nubs of creamy, mild goat cheese and freshly cracked black pepper. Get our Socca recipe.
Cauliflower is like a blank canvas, in the same way that chicken breast and fettuccine are only good after they've been painted. Unless you had some spice or sauce to it, well, there's nothing much to taste. Not so with this side dish. The secret ingredient? Soy sauce. Get our Pepper-Roasted Cauliflower recipe.
Ricotta Crostini with Sautéed Nettles
Purchase the best fresh ricotta you can find because in this dish, it's front and center. To contrast the rich, creamy mild flavor of the ricotta, sautéed nettles lends its deep, earthy bitter flavor and a pop of hunter green. Get our Ricotta Crostini with Sautéed Nettles recipe.
Some of the best things in life are simple, like this three-ingredient drink that's hipper than the hippie-est hipster. All you need is a good vodka, a wedge of lime, and ginger beer. Bonus points if you acquire those official Moscow Mule official copper cups. Get our Moscow Mule recipe.
Black Pepper-Manchego Cheese Puffs
These fluffy, cheesy clouds of heaven are so much finer than the name indicates. Don't you dare compare these to that artificial orange-powdered snack from the vending machine. Technically called gougères, these French puffs are tweaked, by using Manchego and Parmesan instead of Gruyere cheese, and the addition of black pepper is not exactly traditional. Get our Black Pepper-Manchego Cheese Puffs recipe.
An instructional video might help:
— Head Photo: Academy Sparkler/Chowhound. Video and words by by Meredith Arthur, Jeremy LaCroix, and Eric Slatkin in 2009; update by Amy Sowder in 2017.
Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.