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Last-minute menu ideas for your Oscars party

<a href="https://www.npr.org/2023/06/09/1180748796/past-lives-review-greta-lee-teo-yoo">Pasta Lives</a>: You can only choose one.
Mhari Shaw
Pasta Lives: You can only choose one.

You've got folks coming over to watch the Academy Awards, and you know they're gonna be hungry for glitz, glamor, gowns, strained presenter banter, speeches that thank the Gersh Agency, and light apps.

There's still time. Serve them these Oscar-themed recipes. Note: Several of these dishes directly involve your guests in their preparation. This is to offer them something to do with themselves during the performance of the song from "Flamin' Hot." You're welcome.

OppenheimerPuree mushrooms, whisk until they're light and fluffy as a cloud; serve with regret.

Poured ThingsIn a blender, prepare a thick, alcoholic slurry of your choice – a frozen marg, a mudslide, what have you. Before pouring into your guest's glass, add bright, dramatically bold food coloring and hand them copies of The Diary of Anaïs Nin and What is to be Done?

The LeftoversRaid the fridge for last night's roast chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. Make it a real crowd-pleaser by serving it up on your mom's vintage avocado-gold bowls and burnt-umber plates. Pair with a pint of Jim Beam. Your guests will find it all warmly nostalgic.

Pasta LivesPrepare a bowl of Hamburger Helper. Prepare a bowl of spicy gochujang noodles. Guests must choose between them.

Killers of the Floured Moon PieDredge "The Original Marshmallow Sandwich" in flour, sugar and an egg wash. Deep fry. If at any point in the process you start to feel like it's all taking too long, stick with it – it's worth it.

The Calzone of InterestPrepare pizza dough, fold, stuff pocket with sauerkraut and horrifying complicity. Serve cold.

American FictionGo to your cupboard. Select an ingredient you know to be delicious and satisfying, but that historically plays a secondary or tertiary role in your favorite recipes. Sesame oil, say. Or red beans. Up to you. Prepare a dish that finally gives it the spotlight it deserves. (Note: In this example, Jeffrey Wright is sesame oil.)

Anatomy of a DaalFor this fun, deconstructed treat, lay out some red lentils, vegetable broth, coconut milk, ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, lime juice and your favorite spices next to a blender.

When your guests ask you what they're supposed to do, tell them you don't want to supply them with easy answers. Whisper, "It's about the ambiguity," and then leave them to sort it out for themselves.

(Shrimp on the) BarbieFind the brightest, pinkest, most stereotypical shrimp you can, and grill 'em up. When your guests ask you for silverware, launch into an inspiring monologue (preferably in a thick Australian accent) about what is, and what is not, a knife.

(If your guests ask who prepared this dish, simply shrug.)

MaestromboliPrepare and spread pizza dough. Top with ham. Lots of ham. Like, don't skimp. More ham than you think strictly necessary. A truly unsettling amount of ham, is the aim. Toss in some corn. Roll, bake and serve.

(Note: This is one thirsty dish; make sure your guests hydrate.)

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.