Quantity Cooking

On Saturday night I finished baking the last of the 10 dozen sweet rolls for our hand bell choir’s Easter breakfast. We plan to serve sweet rolls and egg bakes to our congregation on Easter Sunday as the first fundraiser for our trip to New York in November when we play at Carnegie Hall.  They are quite large, and can be cut in two for an astounding number of rolls.  The other bell choir members are supplying the egg bakes.

The rolls are in our freezers and just need to be thawed and iced on Easter.  I will set them out to thaw in the church kitchen on Saturday when we rehearse with the brass quintet that is accompanying us on one of our pieces. We have two ovens in the church kitchen and we can have four egg bakes cooking and four keeping hot all at the same time.  It will take some coordination as we play at both the 9:00 and 10:30 services and will need to bake and serve and play bells, since people will be eating from 8:30 until 10:30.  I think we will be exiting and entering the sanctuary all throughout the services in between playing.  I just love doing things like this.

In true Lutheran Church Basement Ladies fashion, members of the funeral service committee have volunteered to help out.  It will be an exciting day.

What is the largest meal you ever helped prepare? What would you serve a crowd? 

30 thoughts on “Quantity Cooking”

  1. I love your confidence and enthusiasm for cooking and baking, Renee. Good luck with both the fundraising and brunch.

    During most of my adult life, I have loved cooking for people. My stint in a hotel kitchen in Greenland gave me a certain amount of (unjustified) confidence, and it came quite naturally to me to invite people over for dinner. I try not to think too hard about what I might have served them, but I know for sure that I didn’t worry or fuss too much about it.

    As I have become more aware of people’s dietary preferences and restrictions, I have become more timid about inviting people over. If you know someone is vegetarian, vegan, lactose or gluten intolerant, doesn’t like fish or cheese, doesn’t like spicy food, or whatever, I find it hard to come up with what might be an enjoyable meal for everyone. It’s not antipathy to those people that gets in the way, but I’m simply out of my comfort zone. I know several baboons are vegetarian and have other dietary restrictions, how do you handle this?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dietary restrictions to change the way menus are handled these days. I serve vegetarian to everyone when they are at my house. But I do have a friend who has gone Keto.. I feed her every couple of months for book club. So that’s been a challenge to learn more about keto and keto vegetarian and keto vegetarian with no cauliflower, because another of my book club members is allergic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is why my other book club resorted to things like taco bars – laying out the components (vegetarian, vegan, non-dairy, with and without gluten… and the a couple like me who eat everything..). It made communal meals a whole lot easier.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We’ve been doing really well as vegetarian for basically 33 years. But since my friend started Keto we have only had book club at my house or at her house. This next month at another member’s house will be interesting to see what happens with the meal.


  2. Hi-
    Fun story today Renee…
    I don’t recall ever having to cook for more than just a handful. Maybe family Christmas and i’d make an extra box of cookies or something.
    Mom and Dad used to help with the church Lutefisk dinners; I remember the barrels it used to come in made good garbage cans at home. You could leave the fish right in them! Ba Dum Dum!

    They were orange and kinda flimsy plastic. Dad would leave them sit outside for a longtime for the smell to dissipate. Then you could use them as garbage cans. but they didn’t last too long before cracking.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. What I would serve a crowd would depend on the season. During colder weather my go-to meal might be chili con carne with optional toppings of raw onion, olives, and shredded cheddar cheese. A chunk of jalapeño corn bread on the side is always nice. During balmier or hot weather I’d most likely serve a chilled soup. I’m a huge fan of chilled soups of all kinds, and most of the ones I make are vegetarian. A rustic gazpacho or a cold cucumber soup with yogurt and dill served with a slice of grilled bread, always hits the spot – at least for me.

    Back when the Minnesota Folk Festival was still a thing, I volunteered to head up the “hospitality” committee a couple of years. Little did I know the first time I did it that “hospitality” had a very limited budget – twenty-five dollars allocated to food and beverages. Other complications included lack of kitchen facilities – no place to keep food hot or cold – and the dietary preferences of some of the talent, their invited guests and other volunteers. Veggie pita bread sandwiches with humus proved to be a hit, as did vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce. Cora’s chicken wings were also popular as they were enjoyable served at any temperature. My favorite vendors at the farmer’s market were generous contributors to this undertaking. When all was said and done, we managed to feed roughly fifty people on a shoestring.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. At my last Gift Exchange in December at one point I counted forty-three people in the house. I think that’s the largest number I’ve ever cooked for personally. Nonnie’s birthday bash and my daughter’s graduation parties may have had more people but I had help cooking for those.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The most amazing thing about your post Renee, in addition to your never-ending energy is that you have room in a freezer somewhere for 10 dozen sweet rolls. This would not happen in my world.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. When I was a freelance writer I often had slack moments. I began shopping for groceries in such moments, then gradually taught myself to cook.. My specialty was middle-eastern dishes.

    With the cockiness of the ignorant, I decided to host a special Easter meal that I would cook all on my own. Somehow it made sense to prepare middle-eastern specialties for Easter: that cuisine is fresh and spring-like, or so it seemed to me. That meal became an annual family celebration.

    Here is what I served:
    Arabic lentil salad (very spicy)
    Dolmades (which, with my skills, took forever to prepare!)
    Marakesh carrots (served with lemon, cumin, cinnamon & parsley)
    Greek meat balls (not authentic middle-eastern, but so tasty)
    Humus bi tahini
    Pita (from the store)
    Baklava (from the store)

    It would take me two days to do this, as some dishes were time-burners. When served with enough wine, the meal was always well received.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Potlucks do make hosting a crowd a lot easier. One of my favorite potlucks was the now defunct annual Memorial Day picnic hosted by The Eddies down by the river. A lot of the people who attended were excellent cooks, and would bring a great variety of delicious foods.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hats off to you, Renee, and others who can cook for a crowd. I am a total wimp about cooking for crowds. I was once invited to a Christmas cookie exchange with 20-odd people coming, and I asked if I could just come and “watch” – not bring or take anything.

    Probably the largest would have been 22 of husband’s relatives at our house for Thanksgiving, but these were always pot luck so I only had to prepare a couple of dishes.

    For a crowd, I would probably serve popcorn. When I need to bring a dish for lots of people to a pot luck, I make one of several egg bakes, or our Joanne’s Chiliquiles casserole (found in Kitchen Congress)…

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I just remembered – for Husband’s retirement party we made two crock pots of chili (one vegetarian) and some other stuff, and it was also a potluck for whatever else people wanted to bring… Chili is a go-to for me when having guests.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I do Chile regularly for crowds but the largest shindig was spaghetti. It’s so easy it’s cheating. Sons football team had pasta dinner every week. Daughters baseball team had a spaghetti fundraiser. Spaghetti for 100with seconds and extra garlic bread and salad for all.
    Big pot of water. Big pot of marinara sauce. Salad in a bucket, bread slathered with butter and garlic.
    I’m getting hungry.

    Liked by 3 people

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