This is probably a little bit off the topic, but every 2 or 3 years, I actually get to be
a sitcom person and it’s connected with great food. Trying to make a long story short, about 10 years ago, I joined the fund raising committee of our church auxiliary. Tired old bake sales weren’t making it so we decided to have a 50’s benefit dinner. The idea evolved into something called a “TV Party Dinner”. The menu was homemade meat loaf, choice of scalloped potatoes or mac & cheese, choice of buttered corn or green bean-onion ring casserole and tossed salad, along with hot tomato sauce or brown gravy for the meatloaf and molded jello salads supplied by members of the group on the tables. Appetizers at the open bar during cocktail hour (can you guess it’s a Catholic church?) were items like clam dip and pu pu platters – the Stern’s Square Meals was our inspiration. Since many of our younger generation never made these foods, it was new to them and tasted like mom’s cooking to the older ones.
I’ll skip over the decor part, which is always outstanding. The Youth Group wears roller skates and their interpretation of Car Hop outfits and zips around serving the tables with only a couple of dropped trays. The local Oldies station supplies a DJ and offers oldies tapes or CDs for door prizes. But one of the most fun parts is the guests during dinner, who stroll around the room. We have had Lassie & Timmy, The Fonz (arriving on his motorcycle), Laverne & Shirley (Laverne kept trying to pick up guys), and so many more. I get to be June Cleaver and my husband is Ward and we go around to the tables checking if everyone cleaned their plate enough to have dessert, which varies but last time, was hot fudge sundaes or strawberry shortcake.
If anyone has a source for aluminum old-style TV dinner trays in large quantities, please let me know because I have been looking for them for years. So TV sitcoms and home-style cooking can turn into a big fund-raiser for your church or organization.