party games

Les Cochons dans une Couverture

I’m guessing there’s no exact French translation for “pigs in a blanket,” but when I served these Prosciutto Palmiers at Thanksgiving, one guest said, “They’re like fancy pigs in a blanket!” Which I took to be a total compliment because who doesn’t love pigs in a blanket?


Not only were the cochons delicious, they were also super easy, and I plan on making them again in December for my book club’s hors d’oeuvres party and cookie exchange.

Prosciutto Palmiers

  • one box of puff pastry (make sure it’s made with butter)

  • 1/4 c honey mustard (or make your own mix of Dijon, honey, and a glop of mayo)

  • one package thinly-sliced prosciutto (about 5.something ozs)

  • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tsp water

Allow the puff pastry to thaw in the fridge. Taking one sheet at a time, roll it out a little, into a slightly larger rectangle. Spread lightly with honey mustard, nearly to edges. Place prosciutto slices to cover rectangle, one layer thick. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll carefully and as snugly as you can from the outer, long edge to the center line on one side. Then do the same for the other side. Cut the rolled pastry in 1/2” slices with a serrated knife and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Mix egg and water. Brush palmiers with egg wash and bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve at room temperature.

Our youngest guest’s post-Celebrity overload

Our youngest guest’s post-Celebrity overload

Hope everyone’s holiday was a wild success. We did end up playing Celebrity, which I posted about last week, and the fun of it more than made up for the crock-pot of Mable Hoffman’s corn stuffing balls which I totally forgot to plug in. (I told everyone to pace themselves and popped them in the oven. When seconds came around, the stuffing balls were ready. And tasty!)

Pace yourself, this holiday season, and feed your family good food.

Fun and Games for After Dinner

Apart from eating like there’s no tomorrow, other Thanksgiving traditions might include flopping on the couch to watch football or going for a walk before flopping on the couch to watch football. Maybe you watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles to get in the spirit and because you can’t recall another movie set at Thanksgiving, off the top of your head. Maybe you even lift the ban on Christmas music after dinner or pop in the first Christmas video. Basically, it’s all about stalling until you have enough room in your stomach for the pies.

What the table might look like, if you have decorating genius, which I don’t. [Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash  ]

What the table might look like, if you have decorating genius, which I don’t. [Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash ]

I wanted to offer more possibilities, since Thanksgiving often gives families permission to be a little cheesy or to guilt teenagers off their phones. You may have too many around your table for board games, but if you have anywhere from 6-25 folks, give these a try:


  1. Cut up paper into uniform, smaller pieces. (Like an 8.5x11 sheet folded into 1/16ths. That is, folded in half four times and cut.)

  2. Give every player a handful of the pieces and a pen.

  3. On each piece of paper, the player thinks of a celebrity. You can set rules for how a “celebrity” is defined. We usually say someone at least one other person has heard of. Write the name on the paper, fold it in half, and put it in a bag.

  4. Once everyone has thought of several celebrities and put all their names in the same bag, you are ready for Round One.

  5. ROUND ONE. Divide into 2-3 teams. The play rotates among teams, and, within a team, the play rotates among the members. When a team is up, their player has ONE MINUTE to play. He pulls a piece of paper out of the bag and describes that person to the group until they guess it. Passing is not allowed. For example, if the name is Bing Crosby, you could say, “He sings ‘White Christmas.’” If you don’t know who the celebrity is, you could say, “The first name is a kind of cherry. The last name sounds like the TV comedian who was charged with drugging and assaulting women.” If the rest of his team guesses the name, the player throws that name off to the side and pulls another one out of the bag. He does as many names as he can get his team to guess in that ONE MINUTE. Then play rotates to the next team.

  6. ROUND TWO. Once all the names have been played in round one, all the pieces of paper are returned to the bag for the second round. In the second round, you have the same celebrities, but this time the player can only say ONE WORD to get his team to guess the name! Be careful picking your word! Many painful minutes have whiled away when the player blurts out a word that no one can connect to the original name. Taking the Bing Crosby example, you could say, “Cherry.” If your team was paying attention, they should be able to make the connection. Again, do as many names as you can in a minute, and then play passes to the next team.

  7. ROUND THREE. Once again, all the names are returned to the bag. In this round, you still have one minute, and this time you must ACT OUT the name, like in Charades. No sound effects or talking is allowed. For the Bing Crosby example, you could pretend to sing into a microphone.

A couple parting thoughts on Celebrity: when you come across duplicates, toss them. Don’t make names too easy, or there’s no challenge.

This guy would be a good name to put in the bag, if you could remember which pope we’re on.

This guy would be a good name to put in the bag, if you could remember which pope we’re on.

In the Manner of the Word

Another fun one for the whole group. You send one person out of the room at a time, and the remaining folks decide on an adverb. Say, “emphatically.” Then you call the person back into the room to guess the adverb. How? Well, the guesser can turn to any person or people in the room and get help. For example, they could say, “Jim, brush your teeth in the manner of the word.” And Jim would have to do his best to brush his teeth emphatically. If the guesser has no clue what Jim was trying to convey, he could turn to others and say, “Aunt Kathy and Uncle Ray, talk about football in the manner of the word.” Kathy and Ray would go to town, doing their best to talk about football emphatically. You keep going until the guesser guesses the adverb correctly.

Tip: don’t make it too easy, because most of the fun is in watching people try to do ridiculous things in the manner of the word.

Aunt Kathy, Uncle Ray, and thousands of friends, watching the game in the manner of the word

Aunt Kathy, Uncle Ray, and thousands of friends, watching the game in the manner of the word

Have a great Thanksgiving, all!