Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Wedding day cooking


GSBravo
 Share

Recommended Posts

My daughter is getting married next month, and I may get tapped to make the food for the reception. She’s thinking, at least for now, that she wants BBQ ribs and chicken.

If this is the final menu, this is the way I’ve got it figured: BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken, baked potatoes, coleslaw, corn on the cob, corn bread, and a basket with various breads.

There are still a lot of unknown variables, like say location, time, and other important things; dismissing all that for now, I’m left with a few questions.

1) Do you serve desert?

2) What tips would you offer for cooking for about 25 to 30 people?

3) What amounts are probably sufficient to feed 25 to 30 people?

That’s it for now.

And yes, I do know that BBQ sauce looks lovely on a wedding dress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Do you serve desert?

Uhm...you mean besides a wedding cake?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would help if you have some idea what the eating preferences of the crowd are and also whther they're big eaters or if they're folks who prefer to pick at some things and save room for drinking.

If all things balanced ideally I'd think that a half rack of ribs per person and a half chicken per person would be about right. I cook baby back ribs and they're very delectable but not as meaty as spareribs. They also tend to get eaten faster than chicken because thery're so good. Serving people I know.... I'd go with less chken and more ribs. Probably ten whole chickens and about two dozen racks of ribs.

Tough call on the side dishes but again - depends on the crowd and also how long the event runs. If people are goign to be there for more than two hours there are plenty like me who'll want to nibble on another ear of corn or a few more ribs after the main meal has digested a bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check out RecipeGullet for side recipes. There are many great ones posted.

I often make Black Bean and Rice Salad for bbq-ey type gatherings. You can make it ahead of time, and unlike baked potatos, requires no condiments or guest prep.

Quantity: more ribs, less chicken. And, for the chicken, I'd be tempted to go with legs/thighs and less breasts. And, I know that at least here, the leg/thigh quarters are often on sale for less than $.50/lb.

And, about BBQ sauce on a wedding dress. A few years ago, I attended a party at which the women were asked to wear the most abhorent bridesmades dresses they owned. Hostess served enough gooey, sloppy food that we all had a good excuse to finally pitch the offending dresses that were taking up valuable closet space.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that it is only 20 or 30 people, but seriously consider hiring someone to cater this for you... Even if it is just BBQ.

As the parent of the bride, the last thing you will want to do is be worried that the food is getting prepared and served well. The day will be stressful enough without adding to the concern about food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[Toliver Posted on May 17 2004, 04:05 PM

Uhm...you mean besides a wedding cake?]

I know it sounds stupid, but I haven't beento a wedding in about three years. I serioulsy don't remeber what was served. Except for that one wedding, where they ran out of food.

---

[snowangel Posted on May 17 2004, 04:21 PM

Quantity: more ribs, less chicken. And, for the chicken, I'd be tempted to go with

legs/thighs and less breasts.]

I was thinking boneless chicken breast, as I figure they'd cook quicker and more evenly.

---

[Carolyn Tillie Posted on May 17 2004, 04:21 PM

I know that it is only 20 or 30 people, but seriously consider hiring someone to cater this for you... Even if it is just BBQ.

As the parent of the bride, the last thing you will want to do is be worried that the food is getting prepared and served well. The day will be stressful enough without adding to the concern about food.]

That is an excellent point, I figure though, if I do get mugged to do the cooking, there's no reception. We turn it into a picnic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you ever cooked for this many at once? It takes a lot of planning and organization to do so--I do it every day at my job and it took me a month of doing it to learn how to catch my breath (and I have professional training and experience).

I do think people expect a dessert at a wedding. I recommend your daughter hire a professional to make a wedding cake if there will be a large cake for everybody as the dessert. Wedding cakes are tough even for people who know how to assemble and decorate a beautiful birthday/special-occasion type cake. You don't have to have a big wedding cake though. At my wedding there was a small wedding cake so there would be something to show, and then we had a dessert table with pastries and fresh fruit. (My family tends to like that sort of thing best anyway.)

Some tips for cooking:

1. Everything takes longer than you think it will when you cook for large groups. MUCH longer. Build in time for this.

2. Start as early as possible. You can measure/weigh dry cornbread ingredients weeks in advance. You can make mops, sauces, and rubs weeks in advance too. Anything like this that you do early on will save you a lot of bother later.

3. Have an organized system and stick to it. As the wedding becomes an immediate proposition you'll have a ton of people trying to "help." Best to consider this in advance and figure out what you want those people doing for you rather than letting them be in your way or unthinkingly assigning them a task you later wish you hadn't. Folks who can't cook can set up buffets, go for ice runs, keep kids corralled away from the kitchen. Folks who can cook can cut cornbread, man the grill, make the slaw.

4. Reconsider cooking for this thing. Really, do you want to be spending all that time in the kitchen right before the wedding? Most parents of brides and grooms are rightfully busy entertaining guests from out of town, helping their kids get ready for the big event, and running last-minute errands. You can't do those things if you're in the kitchen. If you really feel it's best, at least try to hire some help for the event itself to serve and clean up. That way you can leave the kitchen and socialize when you're finished with all your hard work.

5. Try to delegate if you have local relatives who will be coming to the wedding. You can delegate the dessert (just not the wedding cake) easily, for example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more thing. I don't know what part of the country you're in, but the weather also plays a big part in how much people eat and how hungry they are. I'm in Texas and I've been to summer outdoors weddings where all you want to do is drink iced tea, a few nibblies and put your feet up. It's too darned hot for real food! One friend of mine's daughter is having a late evening wedding because of the heat, and is only having desserts.....unmeltable ones, at that. She wants the ceremony outside, and the reception outside. Nobody is going to eat a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One friend of mine's daughter is having a late evening wedding because of the heat, and is only having desserts.....unmeltable ones, at that. She wants the ceremony outside, and the reception outside. Nobody is going to eat a lot.

My god what a brilliant idea. I can just see it: beautifully-iced wedding cookies in pale pastels, three-tier lacy white cake adorned with roses and orchids, frosty silver platters of cold fruits like grapes and strawberries, brie tarts with figs, glistening flutes of pale champagne....

Wish I'd thought of it.

:biggrin:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, man, please reconsider! As others have pointed out, you're going to have your hands full, anyway. You want to be able to enjoy being the proud parent, not the sweaty chef! Everyone else will be enjoying themselves, and you'll miss many memories in the making that you will never experience again! Hiring a caterer will be money very well spent.

I did wedding planning, and have seen too many times where the parents overloaded themselves with jobs to do, and simply didn't enjoy the day.

Besides, how are you going to dance with the bride, with meat juice all over yourself?

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The overwhelming feeling I'm getting is- DON'T DO IT!!!!

It will more than likely be catered, but the idea was put out there. I figure as long as it's out there I need to line up the ducks before I shoot. Then when I decline the invitation to cook, I have good reasons for not doing so, not just selfish ones.

Malawry, you bring up some excellent points, in brief: the most I've cooked for at once is 12 people, and I think it was either hamburgers and French fries or grilled chicken quesadillas and salsa. The cake, I ain't touching that. The only baking I do is Nestle Tollhouse. :wink:

There is nothing that takes longer than when I prepare dinner, if I start at 6, you're lucky to be eating by 9. Hence, the joly roger- it's a warning.

I hadn't thought of "weeks in advance" for preparation. Hell, I can start using that in my day to day cooking. I already lay out menus for the next 2 or 3 weeks when I go grocery shopping. That's a great idea, and I will be stealing it from you.

I'm even more in the "cater it" camp now than before. One common thing that the "don't do it" crowd is pointing out is what I'll miss. As it is, I can't believe it's time to give her away already, so I'd better enjoy it while I can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think most families have their weddings catered for good reason. However, if you do decide to do it yourself, extensive planning and ample time are the keys to getting it done.

Whenever I have a few minutes at work--the sort of time that doesn't seem quite long enough to really complete a project--I either wipe stuff down or measure/weigh out/compile ingredients for a future dish. It's a good policy, and if you plan your menus far in advance it's easy to make second nature.

If you put out Tollhouse cookies at the wedding, they will be eaten rapidly. The Tollhouse cookies I baked for my cousin's bat mitzvah last fall were the first things to go...before the scratch brownies, and before the homemade rugalach with homemade jam! :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The less you think about on that day, the better. I thought I had everything under control on my daughter's wedding day, and we did, but my blood pressure went as high as a kite. I can't imagine what it would have been if I'd actually had to do something. Even if you love your prospective in-law, which I do, and totally support the wedding, there's something very stressful about your child getting married.

The only dessert to serve with BBQ is banana pudding.

Catered.

Stop Family Violence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in Texas and I've been to summer outdoors weddings where all you want to do is drink iced tea, a few nibblies and put your feet up. It's too darned hot for real food!

As a veteran of outdoor weddings in 90-something-degree heat in July and August in the New York area, I can only wonder why people inflict such ordeals upon themselves and all involved.

That aside, the main thing I wonder about, caterers or no caterers, is whether there will be any vegetarian guests.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 people is not a lot to cook for, but the stress of the wedding itself will compound the pressure and be a heavy burden on wedding day. If you don't feel that it's a good idea to put this task into the hands of a local reastaurant, deli, or caterer, a few things:

1) I will repeat Malawry's words of wisdom: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. If you're doing the food this does not mean that you have to do all of the actual cooking. Enlist the help of the people that you already know are going to ask if there's something they can do. Make a detailed shopping list and ask for help. Delegating side dishes among a series of friends and family is a good idea.

2) Add some green things to your list, salads, etc. to add some healthy color to the wedding feast table, and as Pan points out to accomodate any non meat eaters.

3) You could ask 3 or 4 different people each to do a platter of finger food - and another person to be in charge of arranging this into decorative hors d'oeurve platters to pass at the beginning stages of the meal.

4) The good thing about marinades is that you can put the meat in the marinade now, freeze it in it's marinade, and transfer to a fridge a couple of days in advance.

It's not impossible to do! It really depends on the nature of the reception. You're talking about 30 people here, which is going to be a more intimate and family style type of event, right? If you want something informal and to have people involved and having fun doing it, a barbeque is a good way to do it. But if you are going to have guests you want to wow, if people are going to be dressed in formal attire, etc. I suggest putting it into the hands of people who do this every day and can concentrate on the fine details that you won't have time or capacity to handle on that day. Only you know your own limits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

It's been decided...the wedding will be catered. Thanks to all fo you who pointed out the things I was missing, and would miss.

Now since I won't/don't have to cook I can try and enjoy the event. I say "try" because, afterall, I will be giving my little girl away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

eh...you could do it...and it wouldn't be too bad, I don't think.

And forget a wedding cake...tradition is for suckers. I saw an idea for having individual wedding cupcakes arranged like a tiered wedding cake. Much easier, beautiful, unpretentious and economically feasible.

Stuff like barbecue is easy to prepare and reserve, too. It does not need to be cooked a la minute, and you can transfer if not serve it all in disposable tin foil trays which are inexpensive.

It's up to you...where do you live? I'll cater it for you...hehe

25-30 people would be cake...no pun intended...

Edited by Bicycle Lee (log)

"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...