The celebration of an anniversary, is a special occasion, wether its an anniversary for a relationship that you are involved in or an event that has happened in your life. Anniversarys are milestones that signify moments in time throughout the course of your life.

Ok, so onto some special recipes and ideas to make any anniversary a special, and happy occasion.

Setting the ambiance is important. Balloons, flowers, candles, and any bits and pieces of your history together, that you still have, are all good ideas of how to set a special scene. For example, there may be a particular song, or photograph that is special to the occasion, to help set the scene, this would be a wonderful display to have for your guests to see. If the anniversary party happens to be a surprise, it would make it very special to those whose anniversary it is, to see something remembered from their history together. For example, a wedding anniversary. Getting all of the family together may be a difficult task, but in the end, will be worth it. Have each guest bring with them anything they may still have from the wedding,for example a wedding announcement from the newspaper, their invitation, and other nostalgic memorbilla from their wedding. No matter how trivial the item may seem to you, it represents alot to them.

As for food ideas, you can do anything from the all out, no holds barred full course meal, to doing as simple as fruit and vegetable platters. If its a summer anniversary, and you live where the weather tends to be very hot and humid, I would recommend doing the platters, to keep the food light and cool. Full course meals tend to make people feel slow and sluggish in hot and humid weather. The recipes and hints and tips for either menu will follow the listing of both menu's.

A sample menu for an anniversary party:

Click on the recipe name to go directly to that recipe
Shrimp Cocktail
Fresh Fruit Platter
Cheese and Cracker Tray
Fresh Vegetable Platter
Easy French Onion Dip
Beef on Weck
and of course an Anniversary Cake
If you chose to do a full course meal, I'd recommend:
Roast Beef with Roasted Vegetables
and of course an Anniversary Cake

Shrimp Cocktail

Depending on the number of people you have in attendance, purchase either fresh uncooked shrimp or precooked shrimp according to your preferance. If you choose the uncooked, take a small paring knife, and make a cut down the rounded side of the shrimp to devein it. Then placing the shrimp in boiling water, cook it till its pink in colour. Remove immediately, and immerse in cold, icy water. Do not overcook, as this will make your shrimp taste rubbery. For the cocktail sauce, you can either purchase the ready made kind, or make your own. I prefer to make my own, as the premade kind never seems to taste quite right. All that cocktail sauce is, is ketchup mixed with horseraddish. Just mix the horseraddish into the ketchup really well, and add it to taste.

To serve shrimp cocktail, use a round platter that is slightly smaller than a large bowl. (You want to fill the bowl with ice to keep the shrimp fresh, and cold.) Use GREEN LEAF lettuce to garnish the bottom of the platter, and arrange the shrimp on the platter around a small bowl in the center. The bowl will be used to serve the cocktail sauce in. You can also use, instead of a platter, 3 or more bowls, each being slightly smaller than the next. To use the bowls, fill 3/4 full of ice and sent the next bowl on top, and repeat. It will look similiar to a fountain when finished. Doing this with the bowls allows you to "hang" the shrimp on the side of the bowl. Skipping the very bottom bowl, but starting with the next one in. Then using the very top bowl for the cocktail sauce. This looks very nice, but requires a bit more work than using a platter would.

Fresh Fruit Platter

Again, using a platter, garnished with GREEN LEAF lettuce, arrance your favourite combination of fresh fruit into sections and alternating colours for eye appeal. For example, using fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydow, grapes, and strawberries, you would want to keep all the red colours away from each other, and at opposite sides from one another. Be sure to cut the fruit into bite size chunks and have toothpicks readily available for people to use.

Cheese and Cracker Tray

Similiar to the fruit tray, you again want to keep like colours opposite each other. I usually use, Cheddar, Mozorella, Colby, and Monteray Jack cheeses to make the tray with. You can use what ever cheeses you prefer. For the crackers, I use Triscuits, Ritz, and Butter Thins, but these are also to your preference.

On the tray, arrange the cheese alternating with the crackers, in either wedges, or in circles. Either way, the tray comes out colourful, and eye appealing.

Fresh Vegetable Platter

The best vegetables to use for a Veggie Platter are as follows:
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cherry tomatoes
  • carrot sticks
  • celery sticks
  • cucumber

Again, be sure to arrange these on the tray alternating in colour, so as to keep it appealing to sight. In the center of the tray, I like to take a small red cabbage, and hallow it out, fill with french onion dip, to dip the vegetables in.

Easy French Onion Dip

Take a 16 ounce container of Sour Cream and 1 package of Lipton's Dry Beefy Onion Soup Mix, and mix them together well. Its best to do this the night before its needed so that the flavours blend together well.

Beef on Weck

(I know to those not from the United States, particularly the north east of the USA, you may be wondering what a Beef on Weck is. I'll do a brief explination and then the recipe.)

For those of you who aren't familiar with what a Beef of Weck is, its thin sliced roast beef, that has been cooked till its very tender, and is served on a Weck Roll. These are usually eaten with horseraddish on them but some people prefer to use mayonaise or mustard as other alternatives.

To make this task easier on yourself, the best way to purchase the meat, is already sliced. For this you may need to ask your butcher to please slice the roast of your choosing, into very thin slices. Im lucky enough to have a butcher who also cooks the meat for me, but under most circumstances this probably wont happen. He or she may ask for you to cook the meat first, then bring it back to be sliced, as cooked meat slices easier than uncooked.

To cook the meat first, use a large roasting pan, place the meat on a wire rack in the roaster, and add some water ( enough to reach the bottom of the roast, but not completely cover it, be sure to keep checking that the water hasn't boiled dry),2 medium onions cut into small chunks, about a teaspoon of pepper (more or less according to your personal preferences ,1 tablespoon marjoram, beef base/boullion cubes (use either 1 tablespoon of beef base, or 2 - 3 boullion cubes, and a bay leaf. Cook at 350 degrees Farenheit will the meat reaches your desired doneness.

To cook the sliced meat, in a large stock pot, combine the sliced beef with some water ( enough to reach the bottom of the roast, but not completely covour it, be sure to keep checking that the water hasn't boiled dry),2 medium onions cut into small chunks, about a teaspoon of pepper (more or less according to your personal preferences ,1 tablespoon marjoram, beef base/boullion cubes (use either 1 tablespoon of beef base, or 2 - 3 boullion cubes, and a bay leaf.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to remove the bay leaf before serving, as it can cause a choking hazzard.

Serve on Weck rolls. These are Kaiser rolls that have kosher salt and Caraway Seeds baked on the top of them.

For the all out dinner choice, I like to do their favourite soup, salad, and dinner rolls, to go with a Roast Beef Dinner.

Roast Beef

In your roasting pan, place your roast, add enough water to reach the bottom of the roast but not completely covour it. Your going to want to check this to be sure that your not boiling dry. In the pan with the roast, add onion soup mix our beef base to help flavour the meat as it is cooking. About half way through the cooking, add baby carrots, diced onion, celery, and diced potatoes. Use the broth from the roast to make gravy.

For either way, I usually choose to purchase the Anniversary Cake from a bakery because I haven't the time to decorate one.