Internet Raises Over $11,500 For Some Guy to Make Potato Salad

And the money keeps coming in

Folks, when a regular guy tries to crowd-fund his potato salad and ends up with an unexpected windfall of $11,500, you know the American Dream is alive and well.

A Kickstarter created by Zack “Danger” Brown of Columbus, Ohio asked the Internet for a mere $10 to make a potato salad. But the Internet heard his call for help, and he found himself with over $11,500 of potato salad funding, and the money keeps rolling in.

Brown posted that if he reached $3,000, he would rent out a party hall and invite the whole internet to eat potato salad. But no updates have indicated what he’ll do with this much money. How long does $11,500 worth of potato salad keep in the refrigerator?

Not to be deterred, another would-be chef in the UK has asked Kickstarter for £10 to make coleslaw. At the time of writing, he was up to £12.50.


TIME Culture

WATCH: The Delicious History of the Hot Dog

The history of tubular meat goes way back.


Red hots, dogs, brats, frankfurters, wieners, sausages — whatever you call them, you’re probably getting ready to scarf down some hot dogs on the Fourth of July.

Before they were on your picnic table, hot dogs graced the fires of ancient Greece, the beer houses of Germany and the White City of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Whether accompanied with sauerkraut, slathered in mustard or just nestled in a bun, no food represents America’s melting pot better than the well-traveled, immigrant hot dog.

TIME 30 Days of Ramadan

Ramadan, Day 4: Eating Haves and Have Nots

A Pakistani Muslim man arranges Iftar food for Muslim devotees before they break their fast during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Karachi on June 30, 2014. ASIF HASSAN—AFP/Getty Images

The holy month of Ramadan is a time of deep reflection for Muslims worldwide. Over the 30 days of Ramadan, Imam Sohaib Sultan of Princeton University will offer contemplative pieces on contemporary issues drawing from the wisdoms of the Qur’an – the sacred scripture that Muslims revere as the words of God and God’s final revelation to humanity. The Qur’an is at the heart of Muslim faith, ethics, and civilization. These short pieces are meant to inspire thought and conversation.

Recently, a friend offered a social commentary that really stuck with me. He said, “You know there’s something wrong when too many people in the world are dying because of starvation and, at the same time, too many people are dying because of overeating.”

It reminded me of a simple yet quite profound advice in the Qur’an: “O Children of Adam…eat and drink, but not excessively: verily, God does not like the excessive” (7:31). Reflecting on this teaching, the Prophet Muhammad advised: “No human being overfills a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any child of Adam are some morsels of food to keep their back straight. But, if they must [eat more than this], then let one third be for food, one third for drink and one third for easy breathing.”

Moderation is an oft-repeated virtue in the Qur’anic discourse on living an ethical life. When it comes to our eating habits, it goes beyond our individual ethics to a more communal ethics. When extreme food waste and extreme lack of food coexist as a reality not only in the world but even, often, in the same cities, then we’ve really got to re-think how we eat and how much we eat. For example, the USDA estimates in a 2014 report that around 40% of food in America goes to waste. And, it is also estimated that 50 million Americans (1 in 6, and more than 1 in 5 children) go to sleep hungry everyday.

Of course, the problems as well as the solutions are much more systemic. But the shift in how much we eat and how we treat food needs a cultural revolution. It requires an honest conversation about the epidemic of obesity, on the one hand, and a critique of the “ideal” body type – which is just as much part of the problem – on the other hand. And, it begins with all of us, individually and in our homes, considering how we can reduce food waste and reduce the imbalance between those who have and those who do not have.

Fasting really makes you re-think the role of food in your life. It is a proof for how little we actually need to stay strong and healthy and how our appetites are so much more adjustable than we think. Breaking fast together in community also makes you think. When food is shared, it seems so much more plentiful as a little bit goes a long way when you eat in good company. As the Prophet Muhammad would say, “food for one is enough for food for two, and food for two is enough for food for three” and so on.

Just some food for thought during this month of Ramadan.


Woman Claims She Got a Bag of Marijuana With Her French Fries

French fries
Getty Images

The discovery at Sonic really puts the pot into fried potatoes

Finding a complimentary baggie of weed in your order of French fries would be pretty great if you’re a character in a Seth Rogen movie — but probably less cool if you’re a mom planning on feeding those fries to your kids.

That’s what happened to Carla McFarland, a Maryland woman who took her kids to Sonic for lunch last week and then found marijuana in her container of fries, the Frederick News-Post reports.

“I just kind of sat there in my car in shock,” McFarland told the newspaper. “I kept thinking, what if my kids had eaten it?”

Soon, McFarland called both Sonic’s management as well as the police. An employee claimed responsibility for the weed and said it must have fallen out of her apron. That employee was fired, but no charges have been filed.



I Can’t Believe Americans Ate That Much Butter!

A worker packs butter at the production site of the Isigny-Sainte-Mere dairy co-operative in Isigny-sur-Mer, northwestern France, on April 4, 2014. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU—AFP/Getty Images

Butter is mounting a comeback in the U.S., but it's nowhere near the butter craze of the roaring twenties

Americans have rekindled their love affair with butter. The Wall Street Journal reports that the average American downs nearly 23 sticks of butter a year, pulling ahead of margarine for the third year running. The reversal in tastes coincides with a growing backlash against processed foods and new research suggesting that fat might have been unfairly singled out for vilification.

But don’t call it a comeback. Butter consumption today has got nothing on the roaring twenties, when the average American used to spread, melt and eat it with abandon, downing 18 pounds, or roughly 72 sticks a year.


Stocks were up, butter was booming and nobody saw the crash coming.




TIME animals

Global Warming is Tough on Chickens Too, You Know

Getty Images

High temperatures are associated with sicker chickens. Researchers are using selective breeding to come up with a solution

May was Earth’s hottest month on record — and as the planet gets warmer, chickens are struggling to adapt. Their body temperatures rise, which leads to higher mortality rates and an increased risk of disease that may threaten global poultry supply in the next decades.

Enter geneticist Carl Schmidt and his team from the University of Delaware, who believe that reducing a chicken’s feather count — making it look bald, basically — will cool it down and reduce health risks.

“We’re going to be seeing heat waves that are both hotter and longer,” Schmidt told Modern Farmer. “And we need to learn how to mitigate the effect of climate change on animals — we need to figure out how to help them adapt to it.”

For three years, Schmidt and his team traveled throughout Uganda and Brazil to study birds with featherless necks and heads in the hopes of crossbreeding them with the feathered North American breeds.

Researchers stress that this is selective breeding, not genetic modification.

Schmidt and his team will spend the next two years analyzing the DNA of the bare-necked birds – however it’ll be much longer until crossbreeding actually takes place.

“It could take two decades of research before resulting in any actual chickens,” he said. But at least a start is being made in preserving a food source that can only become more important as the effects of climate change make themselves more broadly felt.

[Modern Farmer]

MONEY Pick from a Pro

Food Lion Parent Delhaize Faces Down the Big-Box Challenge

Delhaize Group, the Belgian parent of the Food Lion grocery chain, has struggled. But updating its image and offerings could be a big boost, says this fund manager.

The Pro: Jonathan Matthews, manager of the T. Rowe Price International Growth & Income Fund.

The Fund: T. Rowe Price International Growth & Income Fund ROWE T PRICE INTL GROWTH & INCOME TRIGX 0.3085% seeks out shares of large, under-priced companies around the world. Under Matthews’ tenure, which began in 2010, the fund has beaten two-thirds of its peers over the past three years.

The Pick: Delhaize Group DELHAIZE GROUP DEG 0.3515% . Based in Belgium, the retailer operates grocery chains in eight countries. U.S. operations include more than 1,100 Food Lion stores, as well as smaller chains like Hannaford and Bottom Dollar Food.

With low margins and little customer loyalty, the grocery business has never been easy. Then add in a sluggish economy that’s hurt value-oriented consumers. Then toss in stiff competition from giant box stores such as Wal-Mart WAL-MART STORES INC. WMT -0.2246% and Costco COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP. COST -0.2471% , and it’s no surprise that Delhaize — whose U.S. operations make up about 60% of its $21 billion in annual sales — has been struggling of late.

In 2012, the company closed 126 U.S. stores and last year replaced its chief executive. The upheaval has taken a toll on its stock price. The grocer’s shares trade about 3% below their level five years ago. Meanwhile, the rest of the market has more than doubled.


Matthews is quick to acknowledge Delhaize’s woes. But he thinks investors may be overreacting.

Not in dire straits.

For starters, while some retailers — think Best Buy BEST BUY BBY -6.8459% and Barnes & Noble BARNES & NOBLE BKS 3.0589% — are fighting for their lives, that’s not an immediate concern for grocers like Food Lion.

Moreover, with the stock having logged such poor performance, a merely modest improvement in profits could boost the company’s shares. “It’s priced for no growth,” Matthews says, “when two-thirds of the business” — Food Lion — “is underperforming its business model.”

It’s no secret that many types of retailers have been decimated by online players such as Amazon. But grocers are different. Unlike books and DVD players, groceries can’t be stored for months on end in remote warehouses. What’s more buyers are used to being able to inspect foodstuffs — squeezing the avocados and melons and feeling apples for bruises — before they buy. That means at least so far online grocery delivery has been largely a niche urban phenomenon. While prices can be competitive, inconveniences like annual membership fees and minimum order sizes remain. “It’s much harder to do food online, especially fresh food.” says Matthews.

Facing a big box challenge.

Still, grocers are facing that other big retail threat – the big box store. Wal-Mart is often cited as the nation’s largest grocer. Target, although less successful, has also gotten in on the act. While competition from those two would make life difficult for any chain of stores, grocers face the additional problem that big box stores don’t necessarily need groceries to generate big profits on their own. These competitors might be happy just to have their food aisles lure customers in to buy other stuff.

So has Wal-Mart hurt Food Lion’s sales? Sure. But Wal-Mart has been at it for more than 20 years, and Food Lion is still here. While Matthews acknowledges it’s tough to match Wal-Mart’s prices, Food Lion doesn’t necessarily need to. It’s 1,100 stores scattered across the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states tend to be more convenient than their big box rivals — typically located close to downtowns, rather than out on the highway. That means Food Lion probably has lost shoppers who make a once-a-week trip to stock up.

On the other hand not everyone wants to drive half an hour every time they run out of butter or ketchup. Then they go to Food Lion, according to Matthews. “These are more convenience-store like,” he says. It’s an advantage that Food Lion itself has sought to play up in clever television ads.

Leveraging its existing customer base.

Of course, merely holding the line against Wal-Mart won’t be enough. The company has to find a way to grow too. Matthews believes it can. The strategy won’t necessarily be opening new stores, but wringing more money out of its existing ones.

One of Food Lion’s problems, Matthews argues, is that during the 2000s, the company took too much money out of its U.S. stores, essentially milking them in order to invest in its overseas operations. Ultimately, the strategy didn’t generate the hoped-for profits, while the U.S. stores grew “stodgy,” in Matthew’s words.

“They have an old fashioned assortment, and they have far too many products. They need to modernize, and they need to focus on the products that actually sell well,” he says. But he’s optimistic. “The challenge is to get people to spend just a few more dollars in the store.” He says. “It’s not easy, but it’s not that difficult.”

Food Lion seems to have taken that kind of criticism to heart. According to one of Delhaize’s own recent investor presentations, sales per square foot in Food Lion stores amounted to $7.90 in 2013, up nearly 6% from $7.50 in 2010. But — as if to underscore the room for improvement — the company also pointed out that a group of rivals including Wal-Mart and Publix managed $10.20 of sales per square foot.

In May, Food Lion unveiled what it calls its “Easy, Fresh, and Affordable” initiative – essentially a plan to overhaul its stores, starting with 29 Wilmington, N.C., locations in 2014 and to improve its product line. These updates, according to the Charlotte Business Journal, will include a “fresh garden cooler,” grouping organic and gluten free products together, and focusing on trendier items like premium coffee and Greek yogurt.

Food Lion also tweaked its familiar logo (while keeping the distinctive old-timey lion) to provide “a more modern look for customers,” according the chief executive’s statement.

Of course, hurdles remain. Not least is Delhaizes’s non-U.S. operations, where the turn-around strategy isn’t as clear cut. The head of the company’s 850-store Belgium arm departed in May, followed in short order by an announcement that the company is considering shuttering 14 stores there and laying of 2,500 workers in an effort to cut costs. Meanwhile, Delhaize also recently sold its Bulgarian operations, and reached a deal to sell its 39 stores in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

With its stock at $16.65, Delhaize trades at a price/earnings ratio of 11.3, based on estimated 2015 profits. That compares to about 13.1 for Ahold, the Dutch supermarket company which owns Stop & Shop, and 14.7 for Wal-Mart.

Matthews doesn’t have a specific price target for Delhaize. But so long as management makes good on its plan to boost sales and profits, he thinks the stock could trade “towards the rest of the market.” A multiple of 15, inline with the S&P 500 index, suggest a price of $22.


7 Fabulous Summer Recipes from Writers We Love

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Eat, drink, and enjoy a good book

1. “Ground to Glass” Cocktail from Greg Seider

Owner of Summit Bar and author of Alchemy in a Glass

The Ground to Glass was born on a rooftop where my brother and I grew a cornucopia of vegetables (much to the chagrin of our landlord) and used them to tweak the classic Margarita. Our Bloody Mary-Margarita hybrid features red pepper and cucumber, highlighted by the earthy vegetable notes of tequila. For an added dimension of BBQ-influenced umami, I topped it with hickory-smoked salt, thus crowning our pilgrimage from ground to glass.

2 ounces Corralejo Blanco tequila

(notable substitutions: Olmeca Altos, Herradura, and Cabeza Blanco)

1 ounce fresh lime juice, and lime wedge

¾ ounce agave mix

1 cucumber slice

¾ ounce red pepper puree

2 dashes orange bitters

Hickory-smoked salt

Rub the top rim of the glass with the lime wedge, then roll in smoked salt. muddle the cucumber in a shaker tin. Add all the remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain and pour over fresh ice into a double old fashioned.


2. Grilled Cucumber with Pumpkin Seed Yogurt and Grapes

From Michael Gibney, Author of Sous Chef

Nothing says summer like cooking over an open flame. Whether it’s a campfire or a backyard barbeque, a smoky cookout is the perfect way to celebrate the season. Lacquered ribs and pork chops are always a hit, burgers and sausages too. But what about those accouterments? Cole slaw, mac-n-cheese—they always seem like a high-calorie after thought. Here’s a great way to liven up that all-too-familiar cucumber salad, which can act as a refreshing side for your steak, or a healthy snack on its own.

6 pc Persian cucumber

12 oz. Greek yogurt

2 T Pumpkin Seed oil

2 oz. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (chopped)

1 bu. Champagne grapes

1 T Canola oil

To taste:

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Ground cumin

Champagne vinegar

Preheat the grill on high. In a large mixing bowl, toss the whole cucumbers in canola oil, season lightly with salt, pepper, cumin, and a few drops of champagne vinegar, and place them on the grill, parallel to the bars. Let them sit until they begin to develop a light char. If the grill is hot enough, this should only take a minute or two. Rotate every thirty seconds or so, until all sides are equally colored. Meantime, mix the pumpkin seed oil and the yogurt in a bowl with a rubber spatula until they are thoroughly incorporated, season with salt and pepper, and adjust the acidity as necessary with champagne vinegar. Rinse the grapes under cold running water and separate into small clusters.

To plate, paint a large swoosh of yogurt across the bottom of a bowl or plate. Cut the cooked cucumber into one-inch coins and arrange around the yogurt. Place grape clusters here and there around the cucumber. Finish with a dusting of chopped pumpkin seeds.

Depending on what’s available at your local market a few adjustments can be made: champagne grapes can be swapped for red seedless grapes split in half, sesame seeds and sesame oil can take the place of the pumpkin ingredients, and apple cider vinegar can be substituted for champagne vinegar.


3. Avocado Crostini with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Almonds and Arugula

From Ben Ford, Author of Taming the Feast


16 ½-in.-thick diagonal slices from a baguette

olive oil for brushing the crostini and avocados

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for the crostini and avocados

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 whole garlic clove, peeled, to rub on the crostini, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large heirloom tomato, seeded and diced

¼ cup niçoise olives, pitted

¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil

3 medium Hass avocados, halved and pitted

¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1 cup wild arugula, loosely packed

Fire up a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high heat with the lid closed to help it get nice and hot. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush both sides of each bread slice with olive oil and season both sides with salt and some of the pepper. Put the bread slices on the grill or in the oven until they’re nicely toasted but not hard, 12 to 15 min. If you’re grilling the bread, you will need to turn the slices once during cooking; this isn’t necessary if you’re toasting them in the oven.

Rub one side of each toasted bread slice with the garlic clove. If you’re toasting the crostini ahead of time, store them in an -airtight container -until it’s time to -assemble them.

Gently stir together the tomato, olives, capers, avocado or olive oil and ½ tsp. of the salt in a bowl.

Brush the insides of the avocado halves with olive oil, and season with salt and some more of the pepper. Grill the avocados cut side down for 3 to 4 min., until they have nice grill marks and are warmed through. Scoop the avocado out of the skin into a bowl. Add the minced garlic, the remaining ½ tsp. salt and the remaining pepper, and mash well. Taste and add more salt or pepper if you want.

To assemble the crostini, top each piece of toast with a heaping tbsp. of avocado. Spoon about a tsp. of the tomato mixture over the avocado and top that with a sprinkling of the almonds and a few pieces of arugula. Makes 16 crostini.


4. Fresh Peach Breakfast Cobbler from Ruth Reichl

Author of Delicious!


4 large ripe peaches

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 – 1/2 c. sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 stick butter

1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the peaches by putting them into boiling water for 10 seconds, then running them under cool water. The skins should slip right off. Slice the peaches into a glass or ceramic pie plate. Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit and toss with the sugar and cornstarch.

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Cut in the sugar using a pastry blender or two knives, until the butter is the size of peas. Gently stir in the buttermilk.

Cover the peaches, loosely, with the wet dough. If it doesn’t cover all the fruit, don’t worry; it will spread in the oven. Bake for half an hour, until the top is craggy and golden. Serve warm with a pitcher of cold cream.


5. Instant Strawberry Ice Cream

(Also from Ruth Reichl!)

This is a miracle of a recipe: it has only three ingredients, requires no fancy equipment and makes the most delicious ice cream you will ever eat. Serves four to six people—depending how greedy they are

A pint (about a pound) of fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market

¼ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling

1 cup heavy cream

Wash and stem your berries, and cut them into 1- to 2-in. chunks (leave them whole if they’re very small). Sprinkle the berries liberally with sugar and put them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. (You can do this ahead of time, then put the berries into plastic bags and have them on hand whenever you want them.)

Just before serving, mix the cream with the sugar. Put the frozen berries into the blender, and slowly add the cream, stopping to stir from time to time. Blend until it has come together into a cool, gorgeously pink ice cream.

Serve immediately; this is best when it is freshly made, although it will keep in the freezer for a few weeks.


6. V11 Juice

From Dan Barber, Chef of Blue Hill and Author of The Third Plate


A Blue Hill play on classic vegetable juice, served in shot glasses. Serves a party.


6 lb. tomatoes, mixed

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded

2 parsnips, peeled

2 carrots, peeled

2 stalks celery

4 shallots

1 jalapeño, seeded

1 fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped

¼ cup sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. sugar

½ bunch tarragon, stems removed

1 bunch parsley, stems

1 bunch basil, stems removed


Roughly chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsnips, carrots, celery, shallots, jalapeño and fennel in a food processor.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl and mix in the sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 12 hours.

Combine the marinated vegetables, basil, tarragon and parsley in a blender, and puree until very smooth. Strain the vegetable puree through a fine mesh sieve. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Chill and serve.


7. Gin & Tonic Sorbet From Natasha Case and Freya Estreller

Owners of the Coolhaus Truck and Authors of Coolhaus Ice Cream Book

Makes about: 1 quart

Active time: 15 to 20 minutes


1. The first step in making sorbet is simple syrup.

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and chill, about 30 minutes. (Syrup keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 months.)


2. Then, make the base:

Makes about: 2 1/2 cups; 2 cups simple syrup

Active time: 10 minutes


2 cups Simple Syrup

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Pinch kosher salt

Combine simple syrup, 1 cup water, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Stir well. (Base keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 months.)


3. Make the ice cream:

1 ½ cups tonic water

¼ cup fresh lime juice (grate zest first)

1 ½ teaspoons juniper berry extract

½ cup gin (we like Hendrick’s)

Zest of 1 lime, grated on a microplane


Combine sorbet base, tonic water, lime juice, and juniper extract in a bowl.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add gin during last 2 minutes of churning. Add zest and churn for a few more seconds.

Scrape into an airtight storage container. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

TIME Food & Drink

6 Ways to Create Your Signature Potato Salad

Creamy Cucumber and Grilled Potato Salad Christina Holmes

How to make your side dish the belle of the barbecue

This story originally appeared on Food & Wine.

Potato salad–making can be competitive business. Here are six ideas for crafting your way to a great one.

1. Pick a potato. Red potatoes are waxier and tend to hold their shape. Yukon Golds and baking potatoes are creamier. When peeled, they thicken the salad with their starch and help create that scoopable deli-counter texture (if that’s what you’re going for). For a really spectacular multi-toned salad, choose a mixture of colored fingerlings.

2. Choose your cooking method. The classic picnic salad is made with boiled potatoes, and that’s definitely the best option if you’re going to serve it chilled. Roasted potatoes add depth to the flavor of the salad; they’re best served warm or at room temperature with vinaigrette-style dressings. To give your potatoes a subtle charred flavor that works well with any type of dressing, grill ’em.

3. Mayo or not? Your choices here go way beyond the classic mayonnaise dressing. If you like a creamy-style salad, there’s also buttermilk. Or yogurt or hummus. (Bonus:Both add a hit of protein.) For a brighter salad, you can dress it with a lemony salsa verdeor super-simple vinaigrette. Or, for a salad that’s indulgent but not necessarily creamy, try a luscious brown butter vinaigrette.

4. Crunchy or not? Celery is a classic optional add-in if you like a little bit of crunch, but for a more modern take, try adding radishes or snap peas.

5. Flavor it up. Potatoes are a blank slate, so they love lots of bright, bold ingredients. You can go the classic route and add mustard and pickle relish (as well as hard-boiled eggs). Or add plenty of herbs. And, of course, there’s always bacon (along with a hit of barbecue sauce).

6. Want to lighten it? Make a not-just-potato salad, letting the spuds be the backup dancer instead of the star.

MORE: Best 4th of July Recipes

MORE: 26 Refreshing Summer Drinks

MORE: Video: How to Make Instant Ice Cream

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

MONEY Budgeting

Wine and Dine Your Wedding Guests for Less

Signature Cocktails
With a fun signature cocktail, you can skip other hard liquor. Charlotte Jenks Lewis Photography

The average bride and groom fork over $66 per guest on food and drinks alone. Learn a few tricks for getting that tab down, way down.

Couples spend nearly $30,000 on average to get married in the U.S., according to TheKnot.com. In this three-part series, we asked in-the-know wedding bloggers to share their best ideas for throwing a great party on a budget. Part one offered tips on picking the place, which is your single biggest expense (typically about half of the budget). Part two below serves up eight ideas for saving money on food and drink. Coming tomorrow: the all-important dress.

1. Entertain Off-Hours

“Skip a sit-down dinner and have a cocktail reception with only hors d’oeuvres, or just have a punch and dessert reception. If your wedding isn’t happening at mealtime, who is going to complain about getting to eat a bunch of delicious desserts or snacks?” — Meg Keene, A Practical Wedding

2. Make Your Bar Sparkle

“Oh man, options are endless! Aside from potluck or self-catering, think picnics with finger foods or brunch with a mimosa bar. The earlier time will save you on liquor and dinner-like meal costs. For a mimosa bar—could even be a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar—buy a case of $5 sparkling wine and a decent vodka and the fixings in bulk at Costco. Set them out in a pretty arrangement, and let guests help themselves. Considering that open bars can run in the thousands of dollars, this is a very affordable option that covers a multitude of bases, and allows for ‘virgin’ options of the drinks, since it’s a build-your-own type of deal. Never be afraid to buy beer and wine at Costco or Sam’s Club.” — Dana LaRue, The Broke-Ass Bride

3. Truck It In

“An idea for more laid-back and less formal affairs is food trucks. They are so fun and are a great alternative to the stale concept of a buffet. Hire several to offer guests a mix of different flavors, and have a few dessert trucks on hand too! I’ve seen a wedding where a food truck that made doughnuts was brought in after the reception. They add a fun and different touch. And because food trucks will save you from a sit down meal, you won’t need to pay for servers. Unless you get several food trucks, this is probably best for weddings with a smaller guest list.” Sarah Darcy, Classic Bride

4. Add Your Signature

“If you decide to have an open bar, you can limit what is available. You can restrict it to beer and wine only, or add house liquors. If top-shelf liquor doesn’t fit your budget, don’t serve it. Your guests won’t mind. If a complete open bar doesn’t fit in your budget, consider beer and wine plus a signature cocktail. Name it after the couple, incorporate local flavors, anything can make it really unique. And, if all else fails, close the bar for an hour during dinner and save yourself a bunch of money.” — Lisa Sokolowski, A Bride On a Budget

5. Feed Fewer Folks

“Simply put, food and beverage is meant to be consumed by your guests, right? So it’s logical that the more guests you have, the more money you’re going to spend. If you need to cut your costs (or just want to get the most bang for your buck), then start by taking a look at your guest list. Make cuts there first so you won’t have to make severe cuts to your food and beverage budget.” — Lauren Grove, Every Last Detail

6. Order In

“Consider choosing a local restaurant to prepare food for your wedding. Sometimes their prices are cheaper than a traditional wedding caterer.” — Jessica Lehry Bishop, The Budget Savvy Bride

7. Skip the Steak

“Many sit-down weddings give options for entree choices, and one of those is almost always steak. Don’t feel pressured to serve a filet mignon over a prime rib. The filet option can add around a $10 per head cost, regardless of if your guests choose it. Make delicious choices for the cocktail hour and your guests won’t even think about the cut of meat at dinner.” — Lisa Sokolowski, A Bride On a Budget

8. Bring Your Own Bottles

There are a variety of ways to DIY the bar. You can totally do it yourself by buying your own alcohol and mixers, and then hiring people, like college students, to serve. You can do a half DIY, where you buy your own alcohol and then the caterers provide the bar set-up and servers. We did this for our wedding, and it was great. All we had to do was buy the alcohol and drop it off at the venue, and we saved so much since venues sell alcohol at a huge markup. They will charge maybe $10 a cocktail, where you can make it for $4.” — Meg Keene, A Practical Wedding


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