Mandie's Dinner Diner

April 10, 2010

Cooking for a Crowd

Filed under: Cooking for a Crowd — Tags: , , — ruralmomof3 @ 7:10 am
You readers who know me, know that my “pay it forward” to the world is that I do funeral dinners for our community. After losing 2 of my brothers (10 years apart), I realized how comforting it was to have a nice place to go after the funeral services and find nourishment for my body and soul in the loving arms of friends and family. Through these same years I also came to realize that I had a knack for organizing meals and for hospitality. So, I pay it forward as a way to thank all those families from so many years ago and as a way to use the gifts God gave me to bless others. My other blog, “rural mom of 3” has a similar article that I’ll put on this blog eventually or merge the two depending on how similar they are but here are some tips for planning for 100 (you would then use your math skills to divide or multiply, depending- lol)

  • First and foremost- get helpers to help with the labor! For a meal of 100, you should have at least 3 people in the kitchen helping you at a time. I often ask people to sign up in shifts (the average time spent on the day of the meal for a funeral is 5 hours). More people at the end helps the clean up go faster, less people at the beginning keeps the kitchen running smoothly without people running over each other.
  • For meals that you prepare on a volunteer basis, you can call on people in your community to donate food. I would not do this for total strangers or on a “for hire” basis because then you could get into trouble with your local health department regulations on serving to the public and not knowing the origin of your food. I typically ask people to prepare dishes that would serve 20 people- this makes your math easier. However, keep in mind that some people won’t bring exactly 20 servings. So have a couple extra dishes just to be on the safe side.
  • When asking people to prepare a dish for you, don’t be too specific on what you want from them. Funerals are not planned more than a day or two in advance and often occur after people have bought their groceries for the week. Be general like- Salad, Dessert, Potato, Hot Vegetable- but then ask them to tell you what they plan to prepare so you can avoid duplicate dishes (unless you want duplicates).
  • Some basic numbers for you would be:

35 lbs of beef or pork w/ bone = 100 servings

20-25 lbs of boneless beef or pork = 100 servings

50-60 lbs of chicken pieces = 100 servings

or 2 pieces of chicken per person = 200 pieces = 100 servings

1/4 lb of lunch meat per person  – 25 lbs = 100 servings

8 slices per pie = 13 pies = 100 servings

24 pieces of cake per 9×13 pan =  4-5  cakes = 100 servings

1/2 c. salad (jello, pasta, not lettuce) per person = 50 cups of  salad = 100 servings

75 cups lettuce based salad = 100 servings 

35 lbs of potatoes served scalloped or mashed = 100 servings

2 pounds of coffee makes 100 servings

7 gallons of cold beverage  makes 100 servings

  • If serving only one beverage- plan for at least double the servings.  Serving size is usually 6-8 oz and most people will drink more than that.
  • If serving 2 beverages (coffee and lemonade for example) plan for 1 1/2 the servings for each of them but don’t make it all up ahead.  See how it goes with 3/4 the servings and make more as needed.
  • If serving sandwiches, making them up ahead of time keeps the amount of meat in them equal but any leftovers won’t be very good after a day or so.  To keep the “self-serve” line using more accurate measures of how much meat they put in, use silver dollar rolls or a potato style dinner roll- they are much smaller and require less meat to fill.

Check out my cooking for a crowd section for some suggestions of recipes.  And please, please, please send me a comment if you have questions or need ideas!  I’d love to help!

God is good- all the time. . . . 40.gif

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