Dinner For Twelve

Last weekend was a real scramble dealing with all the garden produce that chose to ripen at the same time. We made our tried and true Minestrone ala Milanese recipe from Anna Thomas’ Vegitarian Epicure. It makes twelve or more servings, and I thought what a good thing to have on hand if a Congress of Baboons showed up at the door!

That really got me imagining how I would go about feeding a mixed bunch of vegetarians and omnivores at the same time. I think it could be quite fun. I haven’t settled on a menu yet, but it is fun to think about.

What would you serve at a dinner party for twelve people of differing food preferences?

41 thoughts on “Dinner For Twelve”

  1. From the same cookbook:
    Russian Vegetable Pie and Garden Salad

    Russian Vegetable Pie is another application for cabbage and it also has mushrooms and cream cheese and hard boiled eggs. The salad isn’t really a recipe but rather a compilation of possibilities.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I once went to a funeral luncheon that featured a mashed potato bar. You could heap potatoes on your plate and add butter, sour cream, bacon bits, gravy, cheese, herbs, pulled chicken, barbecue sauce, whatever looked good to you. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like potatoes.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Linda, the country where potatoes are venerated isn’t Ireland but Belgium. Belgians love potatoes. Massive amounts of potatoes are sold in bars and restaurants:.Order a drink, you get potatoes too. Order a meal, it’s sure to include potatoes. Since the virus has mostly shut down eating out, potatoes are accumulating in massive piles on small farms. The Belgian government has issued a strange appeal to its citizens: if you want to be good patriots, eat fried potatoes twice a week.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think the Belgians are famous for French Fries doused in gravy, and Belgium is the actual source of French Fries, which are not French, at all. We encountered this style of French Fry (I cannot remember what they call them) in Netherlands, as well.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. My dad loved potatoes. I can recall him at the dinner table saying “I could eat potatoes every day of my life, and not get bored with them.”

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Well, I am not a fan of potatoes. I never fix or order baked potatoes, really dislike scalloped potatoes, will eat a little mashed potatoes (no gravy) if I absolutely have to, hate creamed potatoes, and hardly ever even eat French Fries anymore. Shredded hash browns are OK once in a while. Sometimes I roast a few tiny potatoes along with other vegetables. And I do like mustardy potato salad once in a while during summer months.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. There is a story behind the mashed potatoes. Our noon Sunday meal was always meat and potatoes, usually mashed. I had to put some on my plate. I really disliked gravy so I put butter on the potatoes. Then I would proceed to eat everything else. By then the potatoes were cold and lumpy. No way could I force those down my throat – I gagged just thinking about it. There were a few times I was still sitting at the table with my cold, lumpy potatoes while Mom was doing dishes. I would be in tears. That experience really did scar me for life – have never made mashed potatoes for myself nor do I eat them unless there is a compelling reason to do so (such as politeness at someone else’s house). My sisters are well aware of this and know better than to expect me to eat potatoes in nearly any form.


        2. The food that plays that role in my life is liver. Yuck. My mother finally stopped trying to force us to eat it. My sister would sit there, not eating it for hours, while I would pretend to eat it and hide it.


      1. Our family fell in love with Tater Tots. One of the three most popular meals with us was steak on the grill, steamed broccoli with Hollandaise sauce and a generous side serving of Tater Tots. My mouth waters at the memory.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. I did mashed potato bars at several events; the one where we served them in large martini glasses was the biggest hit. I also did a mac & cheese bar once that was very very popular.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Husband says he would insist on a cheese board and charcuterie. If we could swing it and the garden gods cooperated, I would also serve 12 of our Minnesota Minis cantelope. The are ripening now, are the size of softballs, and delicious. It is rare to find melons that ripen early enough this far north.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Luna, our grey cat, is all in favor of the canteloupes. She loves cantaloupe , and circles like a shark when we eat it, hoping we will let her lick the rinds when we are finished.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This wasn’t a sit-down meal, but for Husband’s retirement party we had two pots of homemade chili, one vegetarian, and cornbread… can’t remember the rest. And for Joel’s memorial, a variation on the above mentioned charcuterie, I think there was also fruit in some form…

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Honestly? I’d make it a pot luck. Everyone bring a dish that they like, and with a little luck we’ll all have an enjoyable meal. I’m done trying to please every stripe of dietary preference. I’m fine with serving dishes that are vegetarian, but once you have to factor in those who don’t like spicy foods, or cheese, or fish, or can’t eat gluten, or are lactose intolerant, or don’t eat plants in the nightshade family, I give up.

    On Sunday I had Helen and Sara over for a socially distanced light birthday dinner in our back yard. A chilled vichyssoise with a side of bruschetta was the first course. That was followed by a Caprese salad with gravlax on pumpernickel rye with a mustard/dill/capers sauce. Also there was a platter of miscellaneous things to nibble on: smoked oysters, stuffed grape leaves, an assortment of olives. Biscotti with ice cream for dessert. A chilled Sauvignon Blanc , and we were good to go. As you can tell, I spent very little time in the kitchen preparing this meal. That’s a necessity for me these days if I also want to enjoy the company of my guests. And if I don’t, what’s the point of inviting them?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow, PJ, I just had a birthday. Had I known this is what you do, I would have been knocking on your door. It sounds wonderful.

      Actually, my B-day was a day after the surgery, but it is 2020 and there was little I wanted to do for the day that was not impaired by our times, so I thought surgery to rid myself of the pain in my ribs was my best option. Yesterday my son and fiancé came over with ice cream from Pumphouse Creamery, my favorite Special Ice Cream, for a delayed party. It was all good, but a special flavor there yesterday was Chocolate/blood orange infused olive oil. It was layered with rich flavors and was divine. Five of us wiped out a lot of ice cream.

      Liked by 5 people

  6. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I often encounter this situation with the art group that gathers about every 6 week’s . Or should I say, USED to gather every weeks. We have had several Zoom parties, but it is just not the same — Art in the Time of Coronavirus. Palates and dietary preferences in this group vary widely. There are several menus that work wonderfully and include PotLuck options:

    1. Vegetarian or Spinach Lasgne
    On the side—grilled Italian Sausage
    Potluck: salad and fixings, dessert

    2. Rice noodles like Pad Thai noodles. (Thick ones work better than the very thin ones.)
    Ginger-Sesame Asian Sauce

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This posted for no reason! I was not finished. WP cut me off min-menu. HMMPH


      Potluck contributions:
      Chopped raw veggies like green onions, peppers, marinated mushrooms, carrots, celery, beans, proteins (chopped chicken or pork are especially good

      The Asian Sauce makes this potluck combo nation.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. I started an entry at home, then got distracted and never sent it.
    But I still have the same thoughts from here at the college: My family was planning a ‘home remodeling and neighborhood “What-do-you-remember-from-childhood” tour’ for Saturday but have had to postpone as one person may have had contact with a Covid positive person.
    Our plan was just to order pizza to eat outdoors at the last house.
    There’s still some discussion about the rest of us going, but I think it should be all or none.

    Not too many dietary issues in my family besides daughter being gluten free. Often we bring food just make sure she has something to eat. And the hosts accommodate what they can. Nobody sweats it though.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. i’ve tried rice flour, tapioca, almond, and lots of different types but the all failed until sourdough

        similar to friendship bread but real bread

        i love it

        start with real flour and then use spelt instead of all purpose and bread flour or try 50/50 it’s soooo much better than gluten free 7 dollar a loaf awful bread

        see if that doesn’t work for her

        Liked by 1 person

  8. i’d serve chili

    i have a choice in days when i come in late of reading and being sidetracked in the most enjoyable fashion or just entering comments

    today i read everyone’s entry and was still able to remember my original thought


    i love making chili
    big pots of it
    on the side i’d offer the fixins of cheese cheddar, provolone, smoked gouda, pepper jack, dill havarti,
    pasta, rice and potato’s to put it on top of
    green onions black olives and hot peppers to finish it with and beer both light and thick to wash it down
    and bread to mop it up with

    Liked by 4 people

  9. When my book group would come over in July in Robbinsdale, one person always brought a Chilled Canteloupe Mint Soup that was light and slightly sweet and the perfect foil to hot weather.

    Today if we had any number of people over, they would get:
    – raw or cooked green beans
    – cherry tomato (lots) and cucumber salad
    – zucchini muffins (but Samantha from Bewitched would have to make them)
    – a few ground cherries
    – anise hyssop/mint tea


  10. Some of the baboons have attended at least one of the Eddies’ Memorial Day picnics. I have always been impressed by the assortment of foods that participants have brought to the feast. The Eddies provided an ample supply of smoked and barbequed meats, so most of the home made offerings were salads of various kinds. There never failed to be a satisfying assortment to choose from. Of course, there was always a number of attendees who opted to bring a bag of potato chips or some other store bought snack of some kind, but the preponderance of home-made, often ethnic foods, was a highlight for me.

    Liked by 2 people

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