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ChocoMom

Cooking for 100+...ideas anyone?

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I forgot to mention a warning, a catering truism as it were, there will be people, even if you have them sign an RSVP card specifying which entree they will eat, who will eat 1-2 of every item served. They will take the fish entree and dump it on the beef, and proudly show off the 'surf & turf'. They will grab the vegetarian plates before they can be served to the vegetarians, eat several of them and then claim they did not know -they thought they were appetizers. They will often bring their dogs and serve them a couple of entrees as well. So, count on making extra. When I worked catering, we always had 20% more just in case. (waiters occasionally will drop a tray, too)

 

Also note that many people will try a scoop of everything presented. (and then leave half on their plate, uneaten) So, weird as it may seem, you can often feed more people with less food, as long as there are fewer choices.

 

You should designate people to cut the cakes and serve them. This way, some drunken uncle doesn't just start slashing them into weird, irregular shapes. And, people can't help themselves to pieces larger than their heads (and then throwing much of it away).

 

You kababs sound nice, but the fruit ones have to be assembled close to the time eaten or the banana will turn and the pineapple enzymes will start breaking down the other fruit and marshmallows. I am also thinking that you haven't really contemplated how much time it would take to make 80+ of them. (not to mention storage space) If you have everything prepped (berries washed, tops off the berries, pineapple cut, bananas peeled and sliced) and it takes a minute to assemble, that's 80 minutes on the morning of taken up with fruit kababs -plus the prep time. (probably close to 2 hours, all told) IMO, you're better off with making cookies the day before. Or, if someone has freezer space, 120 homemade ice cream sandwiches made a week before and wrapped in parchment. You really need to consider making as many things as possible in large bowls to be scooped out by the guest. Fussing with individual servings will be your downfall. (this is why caterers charge $3-$8+ each piece for appetizers that are one bite, vs an all-inclusive pulled pork meal with lots of sides where the guests serve themselves, for $7 per person -they upsize staff numbers for fussy foods)

 

While you are working out your menu, start working up a timeline. -Even time the day before will be precious and should be carefully allotted. (probably count on eating carryout or frozen food the day before)

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3 minutes ago, Lisa Shock said:

I forgot to mention a warning, a catering truism as it were, there will be people, even if you have them sign an RSVP card specifying which entree they will eat, who will eat 1-2 of every item served. They will take the fish entree and dump it on the beef, and proudly show off the 'surf & turf'. They will grab the vegetarian plates before they can be served to the vegetarians, eat several of them and then claim they did not know -they thought they were appetizers. They will often bring their dogs and serve them a couple of entrees as well. So, count on making extra. When I worked catering, we always had 20% more just in case. (waiters occasionally will drop a tray, too)

 

Also note that many people will try a scoop of everything presented. (and then leave half on their plate, uneaten) So, weird as it may seem, you can often feed more people with less food, as long as there are fewer choices.

 

You should designate people to cut the cakes and serve them. This way, some drunken uncle doesn't just start slashing them into weird, irregular shapes. And, people can't help themselves to pieces larger than their heads (and then throwing much of it away).

 

You kababs sound nice, but the fruit ones have to be assembled close to the time eaten or the banana will turn and the pineapple enzymes will start breaking down the other fruit and marshmallows. I am also thinking that you haven't really contemplated how much time it would take to make 80+ of them. (not to mention storage space) If you have everything prepped (berries washed, tops off the berries, pineapple cut, bananas peeled and sliced) and it takes a minute to assemble, that's 80 minutes on the morning of taken up with fruit kababs -plus the prep time. (probably close to 2 hours, all told) IMO, you're better off with making cookies the day before. Or, if someone has freezer space, 120 homemade ice cream sandwiches made a week before and wrapped in parchment. You really need to consider making as many things as possible in large bowls to be scooped out by the guest. Fussing with individual servings will be your downfall. (this is why caterers charge $3-$8+ each piece for appetizers that are one bite, vs an all-inclusive pulled pork meal with lots of sides where the guests serve themselves, for $7 per person -they upsize staff numbers for fussy foods)

 

While you are working out your menu, start working up a timeline. -Even time the day before will be precious and should be carefully allotted. (probably count on eating carryout or frozen food the day before)

 

Once many years ago our staff reserved a local French restaurant to celebrate the elevation of our boss to vice president of the corporation.  We specified and paid for our entrée before hand.  I never did get any dinner.  The two women who ran the place claimed people took dishes that they didn't order.  And they didn't like I'd put a flower from the table in my hair.  Worst meal I never had.

 

Later several of us went out to eat and drink at another establishment.  I'd prepare a few extra portions if I were you.

 

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I admire your willingness to cook for a crowd but personally i'd probably prefer to celebrate with the family and not be cooking my ass off. 

  That said, if you can, I'd smoke a bunch of pork shoulders and pull it for easy sandwiches. That can easily be prepped in advance. 


Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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@MetsFan5 nailed our usual solution for serving large numbers of people: pulled pork. (Admittedly, our large group is usually only about 30 people, but this is easy to scale up.)

 

Because we usually do this in winter, we cook our pork shoulders in the oven, a couple or three days ahead of time so we can do them low and slow till they're done. You may need to do a few batches to get enough. We also prepare a large pot of black beans, a rice cooker full, and a couple of different kinds of sauce (for us, a mole colorado and the famous =Mark's South Carolina bbq sauce), and have lots of taco-sized flour tortillas as well as all the other things people like to put on tacos or roll into burritos.

 

If your crew would be more into sandwiches than tacos/burritos, there's no reason why you couldn't get loaves of squishy white bread of the sort that's often served under bbq, or go for slider buns if your crew is a little more trendy or refined. For a summer meal, I'd serve with cole slaw, potato or macaroni salad, and other picnic trimmings.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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4 hours ago, MelissaH said:

 

Because we usually do this in winter, we cook our pork shoulders in the oven, a couple or three days ahead of time so we can do them low and slow till they're done. You may need to do a few batches to get enough. We also prepare a large pot of black beans, a rice cooker full, and a couple of different kinds of sauce (for us, a mole colorado and the famous =Mark's South Carolina bbq sauce), and have lots of taco-sized flour tortillas as well as all the other things people like to put on tacos or roll into burritos.

 

 

@=Mark seems to have at least two bbq sauce recipes out there. Is either of these the one you mean?
South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce is a stand-alone recipe;

Carolina Pulled Pork contains a recipe for "Mid-South Carolina Mustard Sauce".


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Didn't realize the tangent this would start.  Ha!

 

FWIW my "day" job is lead cook at an assisted living facility.  Our residents for the most part enjoy food that's well prepared and can be quite vocal when it isn't.   (They don't always remember what they ordered but that's another story)

 

The fun job is high end catering, a couple of events a week.  Had to get out of restaurants as that's a young (er) persons game.

 

My idea of "cross fit",  put this tray together 2day for our residents Mother's Day Tea.  The guests and residents all made nice and the event gave them something to talk about. 

 

 

20170512_140247.jpg

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One of my standbys for feeding a crowd is pork loin; you can sous vide it or otherwise cook it nearly done days in advance, and then just sear off, slice and sauce day-of. That, a big platter of roasted chicken, a couple of choices of sauce, should do you for evening entrees. I like to make a German potato salad, with a dressing of bacon and bacon grease, sauteed onion, caraway seeds, mustard, and potato water; no mayo worries. It's good served room temp. A vinegar based slaw (I've shared my "jail slaw" recipe on here, I think). Baked beans, as you can bake them there. Is corn ripe in your part of the world by then? A big tub of corn on the cob might be a hit. Buns in case anyone wants to make sandwiches. Big bowl of fruit salad.

 

For the kids -- I can see the burger bar, but you might supplement with hot dogs and the sloppy joes as well. Again, corn on the cob could be a hit. No reason not to repeat the baked beans. Desserts, I'd stay with the very simple -- slices of watermelon, maybe rent a small freezer and fill it with ice cream bars, or make homemade ice cream. 

 

And try to carve out some time to enjoy your party!

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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On 5/11/2017 at 1:45 PM, Smithy said:

 

 

@=Mark seems to have at least two bbq sauce recipes out there. Is either of these the one you mean?
South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce is a stand-alone recipe;

Carolina Pulled Pork contains a recipe for "Mid-South Carolina Mustard Sauce".

The first.


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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It sounds like a great bash, my only reservation is that if the menus are too ambitious you will end up too busy and exhausted to enjoy any of it. I agree with kayb with the hotdogs and icecream bars as quicker ways to get the kids happily fed. I would also have plenty of bowls of crisps/chips about for those hollow legs.

 

the grilled salmon sounds great, but fairly labour intensive, would you be able to poach/steam a trayful instead?

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I haven't signed into Eg in such a long time.  I saw my name mentioned here so I thought I'd comment again. 

 

The seniors I cooked for ( seems like ages ago, it was actually from 2006-2009) were from a very small town in Southwestern Ontario.  I was told " if they can't pronounce it, they won't eat it".  They were very meat and potatoes people.  Not even "baked" potatoes.  They wanted them mashed every single time.  My budget was pretty small too, IIRC, I think it was 3.00 a person and that consisted of juice( always tomato), salad, main dish, starch, veggie, roll and dessert). 

 

 

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On 5/9/2017 at 0:22 PM, Lisa Shock said:

 If you have a one-sided serving table and it takes 5 min to pass through, 60 people will need 5 hours to just get a plate.

 

In my experience of setting up potluck buffets with 2-3 6' banquet tables full of food I agree that it can easily take 5 minutes or more to get through the line, but people finish and walk away at the approximate rate of  60-90 seconds per person for single-sided. I prefer to set up for double-sided serving which helps shorten the time to more like 45-60 seconds per person to finish. ChocoMom should experience slightly shorter time-per-person because potlucks generally have way more items to choose from.


Edited by Porthos (log)

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Well, she was talking about having burgers and a bunch of condiments on the same table, so, we aren't talking about just scooping casseroles, we're talking about people putting their plate down, opening up the burger, grabbing a slice of cheese with serving tongs and placing it on the burger carefully, squirting some condiments, grabbing pickles with a fork and placing them, grabbing tomatoes and then lettuce with utensils, maybe applying relish with a spoon, then re-assembling the bun and moving on to her salad bar, where people would assemble salads from components.

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I'd find a couple of 30 quart stock pots and make chili. One with pork shoulder (or something else that's not sensitive to overcooking), one with beans and veggies. Then some dessert that can be baked by the sheet pan. Done.

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Notes from the underbelly

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My Mom, who passed away at 80 had lost most of her appetite.  The only thing she seemed to really enjoy was sweets; she loved peanut butter cups as well as donuts and the like.  Oh, and she did very much like KFC chicken.  A lot of what happens to elders can be depression.  I think that was part of Mom's problem, she had just lost her dh of 50+ years three months prior to her death.  Health problems can also factor in.

I am a senior and I socialize with others near my age and we all enjoy good food, most of the others try to avoid salt but I love it.  One thing about the older people here in this landlocked state is that they didn't grow up eating seafood so they tend to avoid it.  Such a shame because it is such a healthy choice.

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2 hours ago, Shelby said:

@ChocoMom Have you recovered enough to tell us how it went?  :D

 

Barely. :P     I posted bits and pieces on various threads, but I can go through it here more completely....

I hit up Gordon Food Service for the bulk of the food and serving supplies about 4 days prior to the arrival of company..  Menards had a lovely Nesco roaster- very similar to my grandmother's- on sale, so I grabbed that, too.  The sole purpose was to have a heated vat large enough to hold 25# of sloppy joe for the graduation party.  While at GFS, my wheels were turning, wondering how to feed an additional 15-20 people every morning- so (gasp), I purchased pre-made muffins that only required thawing.  And, some of the industrial size cans of GFS tropical fruit salad, and added berries. Also snagged frozen croissants, chicken salad, some amazing chip dips, chicken breasts, and table skirts.   I made strata most mornings, when I got up early enough.  Eggs, turkey ham chunks, onions, peppers, cheese, etc....I think one had spinach and mushrooms too- but I can't remember for sure.   I'd try to get up before the grandkids...so like 530 or 6, put the strata in the oven, head outside to bottle feed the calf, feed the chickens, gather eggs, etc.  

 

The first morning with the kids here, I employed the 4 year old to help Grammie make breakfast kabobs: mini waffles, strawberries, donut holes, banana chunks---thank you Pinterest. Proceeded to prep for graduation.   Graduation party rocked.  (On the "I will never again" thread, there is a post about the filleting incident with the Rapala knife/Sword of Elindil beast. - which slowed me down a bit.)   I did the 25# vat of sloppy joe.  Having grass fed beef from ones own cattle is a definite bonus!    I used the chicken salad and croissants from GFS to make croissant sammies, with curly leaf lettuce. Also had chips, dips, veggies, brownie kabobs, punch with floating rubber duckies, a tub of red bull on ice, and pop. And, graduation cake as well.  Our family friend owns a lamborghini, and showed up to take the kids for rides in "yellow car".  That was a hoot.  Hubby and I gave our son (19) a car for his graduation.  Daughter (18) already had her car- but the engine was fried. So, we gave her a check to buy a new engine.  Never thought I'd see my kids cry over any gifts we gave them.....but apparently, they were moved to tears.   OH!  For fun, I made a "Candy bar", with honor rolls (tootsie rolls), class rings (candy rings), college tuition (100grand bars), teacher pets (animal crackers), Nerds (nerd candy), etc. Served over 100 people.   I way over did it on the sloppy joe but It was nice having leftover S-joe for quick lunches during the rest of the week.   We cleaned up from graduation by 445. The caterer for the anniversary party arrived,so we had to git. 

 

I got back to the house, assembled the 7 layer cake for the anniv. party, only to have two layers crumble.  So, after much to-do with attempting to paste/glue together the pieces with buttercream- I thought it was going to be a massive fail.  Mind you, this is at 5pm, and I have to get the cake back to the pavilion by 6pm.  The plan was to watercolor the buttercream, but there was no way. I ended up piping a trim around all the edges- 3 tiers. Then mixed the gold powder with some vodka, and created a marble design, and hauled the cake down to the pavilion. It was a 3 mile ride, and with every little bump the crumbled sections of the cake would just sink a little more. The caterer and my husband took folded napkins, and tucked them under the base of the cake stand, so it didn't tip over.  I thought it would crash before it was served. Ugh.   It made it through just fine. 

 

After it was all over, I think I fell asleep as soon as I got home. Next day, it was fruit salad and muffins and strata, hauled the whole crew off to church, then out to the Adventure mine for a tour.  Got back home late afternoon, and fixed my pineapple salsa chicken and rice for dinner - for 20. That went well, dishwasher was very busy.   Next day we hit Agate Beach and roasted hot dogs.  Got the kids all tired out, and I cannot remember what I made for dinner that night.   Next day, was the 4th, so we headed out to a couple other beaches, and up to the Keweenaw Mountain lodge for dinner, and Brockway Mountain, Copper Harbor, etc.   Set off fireworks in our yard- because we have a BIG yard, and the neighbors love it.  

 

I had made lists of foods for every day we had company, and had everything on hand- so it was relatively easy to execute meals at home. But doing it in-between playing with 3 grandkids was a hilarious challenge. Managed to get bath towels washed and folded, and cleaned house pretty well. The cat came out of hiding after a full week in the basement. Poor baby.  Feeling like I'm caught up on sleep now, and heading out to the garden in a bit.    The cake pic on the What are you Making and Baking thread, btw.    =) 

 

Thank you for asking about it!  Having a house with 15 guests was a blast, cooking for them was a pleasure. =)  

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-Andrea

 

A 'balanced diet' means chocolate in BOTH hands. :biggrin:

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Me too.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Thank you @Shelby and @kayb!!!    Breakfast kabobs are the probably the biggest hack I came across. Having something that a 4yo can help make was as fun as it was handy. I think I had some cooked turkey sausages on a few of them, too.

 

And, for all of you searching for a fun and amazing little dessert treat for a large number of people, the brownie kabobs were a hit too.  The mini brownies you can buy, or make using a mini-muffin pan, are great. But, you have to put a marshmallow on first, then the brownie, then a strawberry, then a marshmallow, and another berry. Drizzling with chocolate before serving make them irresistible. 

 

I cheated horribly using pre-cut and frozen onions and peppers for the strata. And, the 3lb bag of diced, frozen onions, and 1 lb of diced frozen peppers for the sloppy joe. Mega time savers.  Gotta say, I'd likely do that again if I found myself in the same situation again. =) 

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-Andrea

 

A 'balanced diet' means chocolate in BOTH hands. :biggrin:

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28 minutes ago, ChocoMom said:

Thank you @Shelby and @kayb!!!    Breakfast kabobs are the probably the biggest hack I came across. Having something that a 4yo can help make was as fun as it was handy. I think I had some cooked turkey sausages on a few of them, too.

 

And, for all of you searching for a fun and amazing little dessert treat for a large number of people, the brownie kabobs were a hit too.  The mini brownies you can buy, or make using a mini-muffin pan, are great. But, you have to put a marshmallow on first, then the brownie, then a strawberry, then a marshmallow, and another berry. Drizzling with chocolate before serving make them irresistible. 

 

I cheated horribly using pre-cut and frozen onions and peppers for the strata. And, the 3lb bag of diced, frozen onions, and 1 lb of diced frozen peppers for the sloppy joe. Mega time savers.  Gotta say, I'd likely do that again if I found myself in the same situation again. =) 

Using pre-cut stuff isn't cheating, it's SMART!

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Some people have prep cooks. Some people outsource it. Pretty much the same result either way, and you don't have payroll taxes...that's a win/win from where I sit. :)

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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