If you're planning to spend some time outside observing the lunar eclipse this Sunday (Sept. 27), you may want to have a few snacks on hand. Whether you're having a party or going solo, Space.com is here to make sure you feast in lunar style!
Mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival
The day of the lunar eclipse is also the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, a yearly celebration of the fall harvest. It's also known as the moon festival, and usually includes a special treat called mooncakes (opens in new tab). These small pastries are typically made from a a simple flour-based dough that is stuffed with red bean paste or lotus paste, although there are many variations. They're usually round, representing the roundness of the full moon, but they can be formed into other shapes as well. [Supermoon Lunar Eclipse: Complete Blood Moon Coverage]
A few old favorites
If you want the food prep for your lunar eclipse party limited to a stop at the grocery store, here are a few options.
MoonPies are always a hit, especially with kids, and should be easy to find at your grocery store. Although not lunar, Little Debbie's Star Crunch snacks, plus Milky Way and Mars candy bars, can help hold up the astronomy theme. To drink, you can also bring out what is allegedly an astronaut favorite, Tang, though adults may find it a bit too sweet.
Why not serve a cheese platter, since everyone knows the moon is made of cheese … isn't it? That way, guests can have something less sugary to munch on. Try pairing the cheese with circular-cut meats and round "full moon" crackers.
One of the lunar tales abundant from Asia to South America is that the imprint of a rabbit is present on the surface of the moon; capitalize on this by offering your guests some rabbit food (a veggie platter), as well. Maybe the lunar bunny will join your party!
A little more work
If you're ready to spend a little time in the kitchen, here are a few ideas.
For a fun, lunar-themed appetizer, try pizza moons. These delicious crescent rolls are stuffed with pepperoni and cheese, and can be dipped in pizza sauce. These creations form the familiar "C" shape of the crescent moon (even though you'll be watching a full moon this Sunday).
Macaroni and cheese can be another great favorite, once again playing on the tale that the moon is made of cheese. In a pinch, you can use a boxed classic, but you can also make your own.
If you can't find MoonPies, or prefer to bake your own, consider their precursor, whoopie pies. You'll make the cookies separate from the marshmallow crème filling, but the process is relatively simple and fun.
Sugar cookies make another round treat, and you can decorate them to shine like the full moon, or leave them icing-free so that just their shape is suggestive of the planetoid.
An easy cake to make is the Craters of the Moon Cake, with volcanoes and meteorites. It takes only a few minutes to put together, plus a half an hour to bake.
If you're looking for a warm drink, consider Chandra Chai Moon Tea.
For the serious chef
If you don't mind spending some time in the kitchen, there are plenty of treats you can whip up. Half-moon recipes seem to be quite common; we've picked out a few options for you.
Half-moon cheese pies make an excellent appetizer. These folded pastries can include a variety of fillings, so feel free to try your own beyond those included in the recipe. Another filling appetizer is chicken half moons. Stuffed with chicken and cheese, these can be a great option for those who want less-sugary treats. For a lunar desert, consider apple half moons. You can start with whole apples, or simplify the recipe by using chunky applesauce.
If you really want to throw a stylish party, you may be interested in Martha Stewart's layered stars-and-moon cake.
And for the adults in your party, you might also consider some moon-themed cocktails.
Whatever you snack on, we hope you enjoy the amazing lunar display!
Thanks to Weekend Notes and The Stir for inspiration!
Follow Nola Taylor Redd on Twitter @NolaTRedd or Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.