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Cooking for 50 Senior Citizens


CaliPoutine
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I made the sirloin tip roast talked about upthread. Its a CI recipe, but I didnt really follow it. I cooked them yesterday with a homemade seasoning mix that I made( toasted onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, rosemary).

I cooked them using a remote meat thermometer until there were 140F. CI says pull them at 120 and tent with foil until it reaches 140.

We sliced them today and I put them back in the oven with broth. I cooked them another 2hrs at 300F. They were really done!!

But, get this. I went to a table to clear away the plates and this one lady says " The meat isnt cooked". I said " Are you serious" and she said "Yes, another lady shook her head yes too. OMG, CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING!!!!!!

The freaking meat was like shoe leather. I even brought home a piece to show Robin( and my boys didnt complain, LOL)

To her credit, Cathy went to speak to the lady. She told the lady that it was fully cooked and the lady comes back with " Well, then it was a terrible cut of meat". I asked Cathy to go ask her what she makes for a roast.

Here is one of my volunteers, she cut up all the meat with an electric knife.

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Here's the lea, I mean beef. So, so overcooked.

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Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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I wanted to make a smashed potato, but it didnt work out that well. I boiled them( too long) and then tried to oven fry them in some olive oil. Oh well.

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I made waldorf coleslaw. I'd already bought apples when I got an email from Cathy saying I should do something with cabbage because its cheap right now(1.29 each). I combined the two. I also bought seedless black grapes, walnuts, and raisins. This was really good.

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Dessert were those Chocolate Brownie cupcakes( 1 box choc. cake mix, 1 can pumpkin, a few choc. chips) with ice cream.

Harley says " I'll eat your roast beef Mama".

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Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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Randi, I think you're in a place where you're never going to win unless you can find a way to take it for what it is. There's a point where I say (to myself) "Screw it, if there's really a problem then why do they keep coming back?". We have a guy that comes into the restaurant usually anywhere from 1 - 3 times a week with his wife. Every single time he's been in the place he has some little snarky comment about something. This has been going on for years, from what I'm told it went on before my time there... they're still there 1 - 3 times a week. I figure he's just a person with the need to complain or he's really not too smart because I don't keep spending money at places I don't like. He's had very few complaints about his food but there's always something he's not happy about. If I were hearing the same or similar complaints from others I'd be concerned but after this much time with it being only one person I just don't let it worry me anymore. He can fuss and grumble and I'll cook his food and take his money. Then we're both happy.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Randi, I think you're in a place where you're never going to win unless you can find a way to take it for what it is. There's a point where I say (to myself) "Screw it, if there's really a problem then why do they keep coming back?".

Yup.

At the weekly Community Meal, we average 100 guests. There are a few people who have something negative to say about EVERY SINGLE MEAL. But they still keep coming back. I've cooked 70 meals for them... and they're still there. Oh well.

I sometimes worry more for the volunteers who help me out. Each week there are 5-10 people who help with prep, cooking and serving. Hopefully they don't take the snarky remarks personally.

There are occasionally people who come into the kitchen to express their thanks for the meal. I'm just happy that I am at a place in my life where I can appreciate the kind of work I do for what it is.

Karen Dar Woon

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oh yeah... and today's menu was

Lentil soup with brown rice

Rosemary roast potatoes, which shared the oven with

Greek Marinaded Pork Tenderloin

Tzatziki

Tomato & Cucumber salad with feta cheese on the side (no dressing)

Boiled carrots with parsley butter (harvested in the morning)

Cake, from the local food bank

fresh purple seedless grapes, from California; they were on sale

I think my food cost was around $225 for 100 guests. The carrots (35 lbs) were grown at the Sharing Farm which grows produce for our program (and other anti-poverty initiatives) year-round.

The carrots and cabbage for the soup were frozen a few weeks ago when they were harvested off the Farm. We were able to purchase the tomatoes and bell peppers from a food rescue agency for a serious discount. I think my volunteers are lobbying to have some vegetables other than carrots, though. The last batch had a lot of spoilage due to carrot rust worm. We probably had to throw out 20%

Sorry, no photos. But in my mind, it was very pretty. :smile:

Karen Dar Woon

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Here's the lea, I mean beef.  So, so overcooked. 

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Anyone who says that meat is undercooked should be locked up in a mental ward.

I agree with the other comments upthread - you are stuck with a bunch of complainers. They will never be happy, because they are too busy finding things to be unhappy about. It's sad.

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Randi, I think that lady must be a complainer.  Thank GOD she's not your mother-in-law. 

And, Harley's SO cute!

LOL, My MIL can complain, but she NEVER complains about my food.

I think you're all right. Its these 2 particular ladies that complain every week. These are the two that complained that I didnt cook the frozen green beans long enough.

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Randi, you must be a saint to put up with those two ladies. If no one else is complaining I would continue cooking the way you normally do and not worry what those two old bats carp about. I always look forward to reading this thread. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yesterday's meal.

Cesar salad

Chicken parmesan

spagetti

cooked carrots

garlic bread

apple/pear crisp w/ ice cream.

Chicken is expensive in Canada. These boneless skinless breasts were on sale for 3.79lb. I knew the rest of the meal would be inexpensive, so I spurlged. When I got to the store, the butcher had changed the price to 2.49lb because he over ordered. I spent 40$ on chicken. I told the coordinator that I would buy 20 breasts and split them lengthwise. She told me to buy more!! Of course, I was right. We had about 10 breasts leftover. I was expecting 34ppl and 25 showed up.

I had one of the volunteers bread them. She's 72yrs old and she said she has NEVER breaded chicken before. Wow, thats surprised me.

I topped them with jarred sauce( classico) and mozz cheese. I baked them for 25 min and they were perfect. The volunteers were concerned I wasnt giving them enough oven time, but I assured them I've made chicken cutlets at least a thousand times and they're almost cooked when they go into the oven. I was right again!!

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I sauteed a ton of different color peppers( on clearance for 1.49 for 4) and mushrooms with some italian seasoning. I added that to the sauce and pasta along with more mozzarella cheese. The pasta was .99 for 750grams. I bought 3, only used 2. I could have probably used 1.5 packages. There was a lot left.

I made store bought garlic bread. The veg was cooked fresh carrots. I got 3lbs for .99. I made 6 lbs, probably could have only made 4lbs.

I forgot to get a picture of the crisp. I used empire and cortland apples( on sale for 47.lb) and bosc pears(.47lb). The topping was butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal.

I had lots of compliments and 6 take-outs. I heard those same 2 ladies talking amongst themselves. I'm sure they were complaining about something.

I asked my coordinator if we could switch the next meal to noon(we switch to noon Jan-March because of the weather) so I could have my Thanksgiving in the evening and she said NO. So, I took the next meal off so I can make a Thanksgiving ( Its also Robin's bday). I dont have to cook again until Dec 11th ( Their xmas meal).

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I had lots of compliments and 6 take-outs.  I heard those same 2 ladies talking amongst themselves.  I'm sure they were complaining about something.

Woot! Compliments, my dear! The two old crabs were probably complaining that others were complimenting you!

PS That chicken parm looks really good, and I'm starving right now! Could you fed ex some leftovers to FL? :laugh:

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I had lots of compliments and 6 take-outs.  I heard those same 2 ladies talking amongst themselves.  I'm sure they were complaining about something.

Woot! Compliments, my dear! The two old crabs were probably complaining that others were complimenting you!

PS That chicken parm looks really good, and I'm starving right now! Could you fed ex some leftovers to FL? :laugh:

I took the leftovers home. Because we're going out of town for the weekend, I'm going to dice them up and freeze them. I had a wonderful Chicken Parmesean calzone in Buffalo that I'd like to recreate.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Xmas meal. I dont cook again until January :biggrin:

This is the 4th Turkey dinner I've cooked since October. I'm pretty sure they'd like to eat this 2x a month. There is another dining program in a neighboring town that normally gets 12-18ppl each week. This week, they had over 60ppl attend the xmas dinner. I know the coordinator of that meal is pretty upset that they'll only come out for the turkey dinners.

Watergate salad( pistachio pudding, walnuts, cool whip and crushed pineapple)

wheat dinner rolls( purchased)

stuffing

make-ahead mashed potatoes( made with cream cheese, sour cream, butter, milk). We made these early in the afternoon and kept them hot in a crock-pot.

Turnip puff( I assembled this a day ahead)

vegetable au gratin

pumpkin dump cake( horrible name)

The pumpkin part is made like a regular pie filling(eggs, evap milk, sugar, spice). The topping is a spice cake cake mix and butter. I melt the butter and mix it with the cake mix before topping. I left a part with no topping so the diabetics could have it as well. There is only 1 cup of sugar in the entire recipe. Each pan holds 1 1/2 recipes and served 18ppl.

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The turnip puff is boiled turnip, flour, eggs, brown sugar, salt and pepper. I buy the turnip already peeled and cubed( fresh).

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I made a basic bechamel ( I used a garlic spice blend too) and added some shredded cheese. I cooked 3 KG of frozen cauliflower, baby carrots and brocoli( 1 bag of each). I poured the sauce over and baked. One lady came into the kitchen just raving about it. She said she could eat the entire pan. I gave her the small amount that was leftover to take home.

The cranberries looked terrible and were 2.99 a bag. I bought 3 cans of whole berry sauce in lieu of making it.

No pics of the turkey because I've posted them last month. It looks the same this month :wink: Same goes for stuffing and potatoes.

I have a few different meals already planned for Jan/Feb. There was leftover turkey so I want to make a soup( in place of salad) with that. I also have roast leftover and frozen so that will be turned into another soup. I have pork sausages and some bacon wrapped pork loin medallions that I'll use next year too.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Today was the first meal of 2009. The meals switch from 5:30pm to Noon due to the weather. This is great for me, but we dont get as many diners. Today I shopped and cooked for 30 and we only had 18.

Yesterday, I took the leftover sirloin tip roast from Oct 23rd( it was frozen) and made soup with it.

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I was able to use up a bag of frozen turnip and a bag of frozen peas as well as some leftover dry macaroni. The soup went over well( it was a cold, snowy day today), but the same 2 complainers said it wasnt hot enough.

I made sausage and sauerkraut( I forgot to take pics), sliced tomatoes( from Florida, $1.00lb), roasted red potatoes( I parboiled them first) and pumpernickle bread. Dessert was a no bake cheesecake in a ready made graham shell. I made 5 pies and had 2 full ones leftover. They're going to be frozen for a coffee hour at the main office.

I had NO takeouts.

I've been buying meats for the freezer. I've gotten some great deals( Spiral hams for 1.99lb, whole cut up chickens for .99lb and bacon wrapped pork medallions for .99{for 4}.

I'm saving the chicken for March. I'm going to California and I arrive home the Tuesday before the meal. I wanted something fast and easy.

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Here is an email I received today from the coordinator.

Thanks for staying for clean up it really helps to have another pair of hands. I know that this group has been very frustrating to both of us, but I do have to pass along their complaints so we try to get it right. I received calls again this morning concerning the meal. The soup was good, but not hot. Not everyone likes sauerkraut. The sausage wasn’t browned. The tomatoes this time of year are tasteless. And the meal in general was not hot. Those were the things I was told. I did give the sausage to my husband for supper and he thought it was good, but I did heat it uncovered and it was browned better. I was told by one caller that seniors want meat, mashed potatoes and gravy. I asked what about ham and scalloped potatoes and they thought it would be a good choice, so lets try that next time. Sorry if I am sounding a little negative, but I don’t know what to do to get a good response from this group. Lets just stick to the basics and try again

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I would suggest that you just give them what they want. Dull, plain, boring food. The same four or five menus (keep notes on what gets the least complaints) over and over and over. Or as Robert Heinlein wrote years ago " Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig".

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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I agree with Arey. I've been reading this thread from the beginning and it is quite obvious that these clients are not adventerous eaters. They want hearty food prepared simply.

If it were me, I would prepare the same five to seven meals: Protein, starch, veg and LOTS of gravy and hot breads. Pie, cake and ice creams for dessert.

I have a cookbook from the forties that would be perfect for them. It has seasonal menus that rely on the above formula.

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I agree with Arey.  I've been reading this thread from the beginning and it is quite obvious that these clients are not adventerous eaters.  They want hearty food prepared simply.

If it were me, I would prepare the same five to seven meals:  Protein, starch, veg and LOTS of gravy and hot breads.  Pie, cake and ice creams for dessert.

I have a cookbook from the forties that would be perfect for them.  It has seasonal menus that rely on the above formula.

I'd hardly call sausage and saurkraut an adventerous meal!!

They loved the chicken parm/pasta meal I prepared. They didnt complain about that.

I've been emailed the coordinator back and forth this afternoon. She acknowladged that I go out of my way for these folks. She also said she was just passing on the complaints. I wish she would just have my back instead of entertaining these folks by listening to their complaints. Why do they continue to come back if they dont like what I cook?

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I agree with Arey.  I've been reading this thread from the beginning and it is quite obvious that these clients are not adventerous eaters.  They want hearty food prepared simply.

If it were me, I would prepare the same five to seven meals:  Protein, starch, veg and LOTS of gravy and hot breads.  Pie, cake and ice creams for dessert.

I have a cookbook from the forties that would be perfect for them.  It has seasonal menus that rely on the above formula.

Count me in on this opinion too. I've read the entire thread, and I really think at this point you're asking for it if you don't just give them the drivel they're asking for.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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Question Randi. Do you post the menus in advance? I wonder about posting a month's worth of menus in advance and letting the seniors comment on them. At least that way too, they know what's on the menu and can choose to come or not to come.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I'd hardly call sausage and saurkraut an adventerous meal!!

They loved the chicken parm/pasta meal I prepared. They didnt complain about that.

------------------------------------

Why do you keep cooking for them when according to you, all they do is complain...except when they don't as per your chicken parm? Frankly, you're beginning to come off as a whiner. People on this forum give you props and suggestions all of the time. You take the props and then zero back to how ungrateful the oldsters are. Quit if the job is so unsatisfying.

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I'd hardly call sausage and saurkraut an adventerous meal!!

They loved the chicken parm/pasta meal I prepared. They didnt complain about that.

------------------------------------

Why do you keep cooking for them when according to you, all they do is complain...except when they don't as per your chicken parm?  Frankly, you're beginning to come off as a whiner.  People on this forum give you props and suggestions all of the time.  You take the props and then zero back to how ungrateful the oldsters are.  Quit if the job is so unsatisfying.

Harsh, but perhaps hard to argue with.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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