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Cooking for 50 Senior Citizens


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[soupcon,Jan 12 2009, 01:39 PM] I suggest Randy you conduct a little experiment with these seniors. Write them a letter asking them for help solving a problem.....]

If my own personal experience with old ladies serves as any kind of guide, I wouldn't recommend this approach. They are there to be waited on and catered to, not to be given homework assignments. They are (mis)treating Randi like their servant. I can imagine this being met with disdain, offense, and more complaints to Randi's supervisor.

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Randi- I'm dying to hear the latest news- do tell- and are you going to post soon on your blog?  I'm going into withdrawal here!

Regards,

Kate

Nothing new to report. I cook again on Jan 20th( filling in for another cook). They really appreciate me at that program. I cook for my program on Jan 22nd. Its Ham and scalloped potatoes. Not sure about the side dishes/dessert yet. Waiting to see the sale flyer.

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Randi,

I really enjoy this thread. You do an amazing job on a ridiculous budget, and I am sorry that it can be so discouraging for you so often. My in-laws live in Talbotville, and their tastes are very similar to your seniors. If the meat is not grey, it is not cooked. Do you do many crockpot type meals? My in-laws love anything that has been in a slow-cooker for 5 hours.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Randi - I have been following your thread for quite some time, and have swallowed a good amount of vitriol along the way.

If these very few complainers are paying for their meals, what would would be wrong with politely (as possible, if possible...) telling them that their money is no longer good here, and that they would most likely be much more satisfied elsewhere. Essentially, they are no longer welcome.

I know this is probably a fantasy, but it helps me in my little corner of the universe.

Oh - and I would likely not be polite at all. "I'm sick of your complaining - you're not allowed here any more. How many times did you think your own children were ingrates? Well, go have a gander in the mirror and let me know if you like what you see!!"

Ahhhh. I feel better.

But, well, keep up the GREAT work, Randi. You have many supporters.

Steve

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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Ham and scalloped potatoes. I got spiral sliced hams on sale after xmas for 1.99lb. I made the scalloped from America's Test Kitchen. You slice russets and cook them in chix stock and heavy cream. Finish baking in the oven.

I was told to cook/shop for 25. Only 16 showed up. This is really, really irritating me as I hate wasting food. Thankfully, we had 6 take-out meals.

The salad is from Taste of Home. Its called Autumn tossed salad. I changed it up a bit, using different cheese/lettuce and leaving off the cashew nuts( too expensive).

This has baby spinach, apples, pears, gouda, and dried cranberries. The dressing is lemon juice, onion, oil, sugar and poppy seeds.

gallery_25969_665_647717.jpg

I made honey raisin bran muffins using the No Name muffin mix and 2 eggs. I added some cinnamon and soaked raisins.

Dessert was crepes w/ nutella and banana w/ ice cream. I got packages(Frieda's) of 10 crepes for .99. This was a great dessert, very cheap and well-loved. I crushed up some sponge toffee( on clearance for 1.99) and sprinkled it on top.

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I cooked in my town on Tuesday and made the exact same meal. No complaints then or today. ( actually, I heard the same woman who always complain saying that my scalloped potatoes looked more like mashed potatoes, than scalloped). They broke down a tad too much.

I cook again on Feb 3rd( filling in for another cook) and Feb 12th for my program. I bought inside round oven roasts for 1.99lb for Feb 12th. One of the volunteers is going to start them early(8am) at the program. I hope I didnt make a mistake with that cut of beef.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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I'd love one of those crepes!

I'm confused about amounts. They tell you how many to cook for, so does that mean you cook for the number of people who reserved? Or do they just estimate?

If people reserve but don't show up, do they still have to pay for their meals? If not, that could be something to suggest to reduce the number of no-shows.

With the groups my mother belongs to, you not only have to reserve in advance, but you must also pay when you reserve, not when you show up.

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I'd love one of those crepes!

I'm confused about amounts.  They tell you how many to cook for, so does that mean you cook for the number of people who reserved?  Or do they just estimate?

If people reserve but don't show up, do they still have to pay for their meals?  If not, that could be something to suggest to reduce the number of no-shows.

With the groups my mother belongs to, you not only have to reserve in advance, but you must also pay when you reserve, not when you show up.

This is a bone of contention. I've suggesting selling pre-paid tickets and if they dont show up, they have to pay anyway. On Tuesday I asked the supervisor for firm numbers because I was taking the hams out of the freezer. I didnt want to take 2 hams out, if I only needed 1. She said " No one has called to cancel". There is a standing list of the same people that come each week. When the supervisor started her job last year, she would call to confirm. At the Thanksgiving meal, I heard them walk up to her and say " No one has called us before, we call if we're not going to be there". In other words, DONT CALL US.

She said she was going to start making calls again after she saw the turnout this week and last time.

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This is a bone of contention. I've suggesting selling pre-paid tickets and if they dont show up, they have to pay anyway.  On Tuesday I asked the supervisor for firm numbers because I was taking the hams out of the freezer.  I didnt want to take 2 hams out, if I only needed 1.  She said " No one has called to cancel".  There is a standing list of the same people that come each week.  When the supervisor started her job last year, she would call to confirm.  At the Thanksgiving meal, I heard them walk up to her and say " No one has called us before, we call if we're not going to be there".  In other words, DONT CALL US. 

She said she was going to start making calls again after she saw the turnout this week and last time.

Good- it's time that control of your program is returned to its staff. It's about time your supervisor did anything to support you. If people choose not to come, fine- but then they should be held accountable or dropped. I hate to put it this way but it is as if, in this prison of a meal program, the inmates hold all the keys!

Good luck- i can hardly wait to be old enough to eat there! At least I would be appreciative!

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Good- it's time that control of your program is returned to its staff.  It's about time your supervisor did anything to support you.  If people choose not to come, fine- but then they should be held accountable or dropped.  I hate to put it this way but it is as if, in this prison of a meal program, the inmates hold all the keys!

EXACTLY!!

I have no idea why the supervisor (past? and present) allow the seniors so much control. It's like high school cliques, and some of the seniors represent the "Mean Girls" (ever seen the movie?).

If the co-ordinator really wants to show she has the skills to run this program, she should re-vamp the whole thing including how people register and pay for it. If some people drop out because of it, then so be it. Those are probably the people you would want to drop out.

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Oh and I forgot to add. The supervisor said " I wont run this dining program with less than 20ppl". For the last 2 meals, we've had less than 20. I'm not sure what she is trying to say. Its not up to her to cancel a program that has been going on for 20yrs!!

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Today I bought 20lbs of boneless pork shoulder for 2.29lb. I'm going to make Cook's Country Old Fashioned Pork Roast for the meal on Feb 3rd. This is perfect because the recipe calls for making it the day before. I plan on making some homemade applesauce and serving it with Mashed potatoes( natch!!)

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nice score on the pork shoulder, Randi!

Are you expecting a lot of shrinkage from cooking, or will you be putting some of that meat away?

20 lbs should make at least 60 servings; although, what portion size do you use?

Please report back on how the recipe works out for the large quantity. I might like to try it for our community meal. We don't serve pork very often, because I'm then obligated to offer a non-pork alternative for people whose faith traditions do not allow pork products. :-)

Karen Dar Woon

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nice score on the pork shoulder, Randi!

Are you expecting a lot of shrinkage from cooking, or will you be putting some of that meat away?

20 lbs should make at least 60 servings; although, what portion size do you use?

Please report back on how the recipe works out for the large quantity. I might like to try it for our community meal. We don't serve pork very often, because I'm then obligated to offer a non-pork alternative for people whose faith traditions do not allow pork products. :-)

I am expecting a lot of shrinkage. When I looked at the receipt, I noticed I only got about 15lbs. I'd rather have too much than too little. This program also sells a lot of takeout meals. The last time I cooked there, we had 8 takeout meals.

Btw, the recipe is free here.

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Here is the old fashioned pork roast after 3hrs of cooking. ( I have another smaller one in another pan). I added the onions and cooked them for another hour. I drained off the juices and refridgerated them separately. I put the onions in another bowl. Tomorrow, I'll slice, make a pan sauce with apple juice, apple jelly( if I can find it in my town), and cider vinegar. The pork cooks for another hour. It smelled great!!

gallery_25969_665_764147.jpg

There also have mashed potatoes, cesar salad, garlic bread, apple sauce(homemade) and frozen corn.

Dessert is a vanilla cake( mix) with a cooked vanilla pudding, real whipped cream and a citrus compote. I got gorgeous oranges( navel, blood and cara cara) for .79lb. I sectioned them today while the pork was cooking.

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They'd better not complain if they have any sense of decency.

I know I wouldn't.  :wub:

I'm filling in for the cook( who has the program that meets weekly) who cooks in my town. These folks love my cooking and have never complained. In fact, they've asked if I can be their regular cook( I wish, 2 min drive from my house).

The folks I cook for 2x a month are the complainers. I think I'll make this same meal for my seniors at the end of Feb. The pork shoulders are on sale for .99lb ( ticks me off because I paid 2.29lb last week)

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That is quite a meal. I am betting there will be take-outs because they could probably eat off a single take out for 2 meals. Wondering how those lovely onions got incorporated into the dishes?

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That is quite a meal. I am betting there will be take-outs because they could probably eat off a single take out for 2 meals. Wondering how those lovely onions got incorporated into the dishes?

The onions are going into the gravy!!

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That pork looks incredible!  I think I need to make it. . .

Does the cook in your town's program have tenure, so you can't take over until she/he quits?  It sucks that you can't work for people who actually appreciate you!

Yeah, thats basically it in a nutshell. It was her job first, in fact she had my program too. She resigned from that because she found that cooking 3x a week( every other week) was too much. She also cooks the smaller program(15ppl) every Wednesday.

She came in today to drop off her groceries for Wednesday and made a comment about how nice it was to just shop for one program. I'd love it if she'd quit.

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Well, then that's what we will all be hoping for- a great transition for her- and a greater transition for you...into her job! Honestly, what would it be worth to cook for people who are truly appreciative of your efforts?

By the way, I'm available any time you are in need of an appreciative diner!

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They LOVED the pork and the entire meal.

I'm not a big pork fan, but I tasted it, it was really good. We're having some for dinner tonight.

Here is the pork after I sliced it( this cooked for 3 hrs, then onions were added, then cook for another hour), refridgerate overnight)

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Here is the pork after it cooked for another 1.5hrs.

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The pan juices are added to a pot with onions, apple cider, apple cider vinegar and apple jelly.

I made a huge pot of applesauce which they loved. I got this huge bag of apples( mostly organic) on the reduced rack for 1.49. I bought 3 bags of them, and threw in some apple juice, cinnamon sticks and brown sugar and a touch of salt. I blended it with the immersion blender.

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I prefer my applesauce cold, but we served it warm.

Dessert was a vanilla cake mix. I made a cooked vanilla pudding and real whipped cream. I sliced up a bunch of nice citrus. I bought blood oranges, but was dismayed to see that there most of them werent even red. I also bought Cara Cara oranges and navels. I mixed the sectioned fruit with a bit of honey. All the citrus was on sale for .79lb.

I spent about 137.00 for this meal which included a bottle of evoo and a jug of bleach. They also had mashed potatoes, cesar salad and PC "bake it yourself" garlic loaves( made with french flour and real butter). I had 6 take out before the meal was served( bad weather) and 4 after the meal. Total served was 45ppl.

gallery_25969_665_496639.jpg

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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