April Fools’ is another one of those holidays I have a hard time getting excited about. This holiday just feels like an excuse to be nastier than you would be for the rest of the year. You’re literally supposed to make someone else feel like a fool.
So yeah, not my favorite, but something I loved when I was a kid was how my mom changed the narrative. Instead of pranking each other, we would get together for a special family dinner – one with a major twist. We were handed a menu with code names for food and utensils. Without knowing what you were getting, you had to order just a few of the options.
We’d sit around the table trying to figure out what each thing meant (“okay, what are your thoughts on Floating Pine? Maybe it’s got pine nuts? But why are they floating? What do you think — should I try it?”), and then, when you got your often eclectic selection, we’d all enjoy watching each other try to eat.
We were all in the same boat. We came knowing what we were getting into. No one had to feel dumb — instead, it felt like we were a family team, figuring things out, laughing with each other. Even now, if you ask for a face mop in my house, you’ll get a smile and a napkin 🙂
This is still a fun way to incorporate the surprise/trickery element of the holiday without making anyone into the butt of the joke. It’s something I looked forward to every year as a kid, and I’m excited to bring this tradition back now that my kids are old enough to enjoy it.
April Fools Mystery Dinner, Step-by-Step
This requires a good deal of secrecy on the part of the host. You’ll have to cook an entire meal without anyone in the house seeing. Depending on how nosy your family is, this could be the hardest part.
The menu for the mystery dinner in the printable is:
- Floating Pine (water with a toothpick floating in it)
- Christmas Collage (a salad with lettuce and tomato)
- Dinglehopper (fork)
- Home on the Range (Ranch dressing)
- Face Mop (napkin)
- Wiggle Worms (spaghetti noodles)
- Rolling Cows (meatballs with spaghetti sauce)
- Snow (Parmesan cheese)
- Crane (fork)
- Silver Sliver (knife)
- Manna (roll or garlic bread)
- Cold Comfort (ice cream)
- Big Dipper (spoon)
- How Now, Brown Cow? (chocolate syrup)
- Bedazzles (sprinkles)
In addition to all the stuff above, you’ll need a copy of the menu for each person who’ll participate.
Starting with first course, you’ll have each person order three menu items. Once the orders have been taken, bring out exactly what they asked for. If they asked for a Dinglehopper, Home on the Range, and a Face Mop, they get a fork, ranch dressing, and a napkin.
Sit back and enjoy watching everyone try to figure things out .
Once the first course is done, completely clear the table. Everyone orders for the second course, and, when ready, you repeat the same procedure for the second course.
Especially with very young kids, you might get some upset or even tears (I’m just imagining what would happen if one of my kids ordered ice cream and the other didn’t!). Feel free to fudge things in order to make it a good experience.