Rebecca and I agreed to be in charge of a fundraising meal our MYF (Mennonite Youth Fellowship) planned to raise money for a work-and-learn trip this summer. It was, frankly, a lot of work, but the rush of community spirit and pride at the event itself was deeply gratifying. Plus, the MYFers worked so willingly and purposefully that I quite believe in teenagers again.
Cooking for crowds is quite a different skill set from other cooking skills: family meals, company meals, picnics, packed lunches, holiday dinners, parties (did I miss any?). Following are my notes on quantities and things I want to remember when I have a go at crowd cooking again.
1 9x13 pan vegetarian church casserole
mixed green salad with 1 quart vinaigrette - 2 big boxes, plus a few cups spinach
cranberry applesauce from 1 bushel apples and 8 bags of cranberries (with 1 bucket left over)
135 whole wheat dinner rolls, 3 sticks butter, 1 quart strawberry jam
8 9x13 pans Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
2 5-quart pails vanilla ice cream
10 cups toasted walnuts
100 cups decaf coffee
1 quart half-and-half
I don't have the exact number of people that we served. We planned 150 servings and what I listed here is what we actually used.
1. We had way more dessert than we needed - 4 cakes and a 5-quart pail of ice cream left over. Did we serve skimpily or is our church really healthy?
2. The plate was very, very pretty: shiny greens, garnet-colored sauce, and the casserole with flecks of green (bell pepper) and red (pimento).
3. The coffee took an hour to brew (we had planned for 45 minutes).
4. The served-buffet is so ideal for sticking to planned portions without needing to plate and deliver food to tables.
5. We forgot to plan for the workers' supper - it's important to have well-fed workers! Rebecca hurried the casseroles and we served dessert to the workers first while the casseroles finished up.