Serious Entertaining: ’90s Themed Dinner Party

May 31, 2012 // Uncategorized


As a girl who spent her formative adolescent years in the 1990s, I grew up wearing scrunchies, throwing Nerf footballs at my brother, and listening to the Smashing Pumpkins when my older, cooler cousins told me to. The decade was good to me, and one worth celebrating always and forever. (And how did it take me this long to realize that all of My So-Called Life is available on Netflix Instant?!?) Herewith some ideas for a '90s-themed dinner party; very minimal nutritional value involved.

Ranch Dressing


Italian dressing was feeling like the king of dressings, sitting pretty on grocery store shelves—until Ranch came along and smacked it down. Ranch dressing overtook Italian as the nation's best-selling salad topper in 1992, according to Hidden Valley, which is actually a real place in California—a dude ranch near Santa Barbara—where the white, creamy potion of buttermilk, herbs, and other mysteries was born.

Every fridge in the 1990s contained a bottle of Ranch at all times, right? Wasn't that a law in most states? Some kids didn't even know what vegetables were without a squeeze of Ranch on top. And with it came Cool Ranch Doritos, Ranch Wavy Lay's, and a universal acceptance of such dunking traditions as wings in Ranch and pizza in Ranch. Remember the Simpsons episode where Homer is blasted by a Ranch dressing hose?

So, every '90s-themed party should have a bowl of Ranch. [Note: I detest Ranch, but if I did throw this fantasy party, it would have to be present.]

Get the recipe »

Or, if you're too lazy to make it from scratch, buy Hidden Valley »

Big Dogs

Spicy Mango Chicken Sausage

Spicy mango chicken sausage. Get the recipe »

Everyone had a dad, brother, uncle or boyfriend (or, for all the males reading, YOU) who owned a Big Dogs T-shirt right? Remember them?

"If you can't hit with the Big Dogs, stay off the field!" .. "Talk to the Paw" .. or the classic "BITE ME." So unearth those faded tees from the deepest recesses of your T-shirt drawers, wear them, reminisce over all the brilliant Big Dogs adages, and eat big hot dogs.

25 Hot Dog and Sausage recipes for the grill »

Pearl Jammies


You could play Pearl Jam the entire party, and still not even begin to complete their entire discography. As a tribute to one of the greatest rock bands of the '90s, eat these super chewy Oatmeal Jammys from The Treats Truck cookbook. Feel free to fill them with any jam you so please. Extra credit for pear jam!

Get the recipe »


Talk: Favorite Food from the '90s?

About the author: Erin is the national managing editor of Serious Eats. You can follow her on Twitter: @erin_zimmer

About the author