It is the spring of 1884. America's west coast is slowly being populated with small towns full of settlers, come to prospect for precious metals, set up ranches and run dubious saloons - and now the railroad is coming!Once the invitations were sent out and my costume was sorted the next two steps were the food and decorations. I had so many ideas but had to rein them in to affordable options! LOL I saw an e-card the other day which said "An evil witch cursed me at birth with expensive taste and no money!". While I don't go to quite that extreme, my mind does kinda go wild ... as in beyond my abilities and budget :)
Cactus Gulch is one such small town, founded 20 years ago and tonight is has a festive air as the townsfolk get set to start their 20th anniversary celebrations. However, all is not running smoothly. Land disputes, disreputable card games, strange folk from out of town and hostile Indians all add to the tense atmosphere. Join us in the Silver Dollar saloon as celebrations begin and find out how the evening unfolds ...
I mentioned yesterday that I found some great on-line image resources. My favourite was the digital collections at Duke University. They have collections of sheet music, women's lib stuff, and many more. Their online advertising collection is wonderful! This one was particularly funny ...
|HAHAHAHA! It continues on a second page but I think you get the idea.
I printed off lots of vintage adds and used them in my decorating. Free Form Games recommend that you have a large room for the guests to mingle in with another area/room for more private conversations. We used our games room as the Saloon and then we turned our living room into a General Store/Mercantile.
We had a huge piece of calico that we used to cover our store at shows/fairs and we used this to hide the TV and create a backdrop. I then created a buffet area using some plastic gingham table clothes that were on sale for a couple bucks. Everything else came out of my stash or off the printer.
|The buffet table
|There is fruit and veg in the basket and the wood bin says potatoes
|I wonder if any of these will be used on the night!
The Princess made these cupcakes. They were her contribution to the night. As we were making the cakes our power went out! We have a gas oven so we could still cook but it took The Princess an hour to hand mix these ... you could say they were authentic!
|mmmmm ... cupcakes!
|I love the picture for Hunt's Remedy
|Welcome to the Silver Dollar Saloon
|Is that you on the poster????
|I couldn't get enough of these!
|Creative use of a vase :)
|Silver Dollar Bar
|Stocking up on supplies ... am I the murderer????
|The Thinker, The Extrovert, The Princess
|Ready for fun?
We forgot to take photos of the food but here we all are lining up to eat! We didn't have anything traditionally 'wild west' as we cooked the main with meat from the freezer. We had choice of slow cooked beef vindaloo and/or chicken tarragon, served with green beans & bacon, and our yummy sweet potato crunch. I did once promise you the recipe when I got a photo, but as we forgot the photo again, I wont torture you any longer. It really is yummy!
|Way Out West!
Sweet Potato Crunch2 eggs
1/3 cup evaporated milk (NOT condensed milk)
1/2 cup margarine or butter
3/4 cup sugar (Original recipe was 1 cup! ... feel free to lower this - I usually make it 1/4 cup for special occasions and nothing for everyday)
3 med sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked and drained
Mix above ingredients until creamy, put in heatproof dish.
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix together until crumbly and sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 375°F/190°C until top is crispy (1/2 to 3/4 hour approx)
The first time I tasted this I was only little. My Grandma always rounded up stray American's for Thanksgiving and they usually brought something. This was made by two spinster sisters (The Boots) and it became a firm family favourite. Like most American recipes from that era it was very sweet. When it became my responsibility to make this I lowered the sugar to 3/4 cup and then kept lowering it until it became only 1/4 cup. That small amount of sugar really does make it seem like a treat (especially if you don't have access to local sweet potatoes), and as we don't have it too often I tend to put it in. But as there is also sugar in the topping it really doesn't need it if you are going to eat it more often. We very rarely ever have leftovers when we serve this unless I make extra.
For dessert I really couldn't decide. I wanted all my favourites but had to narrow it down to only three, while keeping everyone happy. I would have added a German Chocolate cake and pumpkin pie (I considered pumpkin and pecan pie too). But in the end I went with my absolute all time favourite ... banana cream pie (NO meringue). And added in angel food cake with cream and strawberries, and key lime pie with meringue.
It was a fabulous night and I won't spoil the story for you in case you decide to give the game a try. We laughed so hard my cheeks hurt the next day. The game is very flexible and it involved double dealing, blackmail, more murders, and in the end we were all so caught up in our own deals that only the murderer knew 'who done it'. It was like an episode of Taggart, Midsummer Murders, Inspector Morse, and Lewis all rolled into one!
It was a fabulous way to spend a birthday with a group of wonderful friends.
See you on Sunday for Storytelling Sunday. I also hope to catch up on my blog reading this weekend and should be dropping by.