Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Cooking for a crowd

Years ago, I cooked lots of big meals.  We had some Thanksgiving dinners with twenty or thirty people here, and I did most of the cooking back then because I loved to do it.  I knew how much food I needed to cook, and I prepared ahead of time to have all the proper ingredients on hand.  I made light rolls from scratch and somehow managed to let them rise twice and get the timing right so they'd come out of the oven when the turkey (or roast) was done to a turn and the noodles were ready for the table.  

Not so, these days.  We don't have many meals for the masses these days, and that's a problem each summer when our son comes to visit.  Oh, we don't have huge numbers of folks when he's here, but it's more than I'm used to, and I'm cooking things I don't often cook for the two of us.  Things get a little "iffy" at mealtime... will there be enough for everybody?  Will I have all the needed ingredients?

This year, the grandson took vacation for the week his dad came, as did his wife.  Our son-in-law who lives a couple of miles away had knee replacements this year, had been back to work for a week afterward, and then took that week as vacation.  This crew doesn't make up a huge crowd, but when you mostly cook for two, it's still a challenge.  The first morning I made biscuits and gravy and managed to screw up the biscuits (I know, right?) and make an insufficient amount of gravy.  I redeemed myself on another morning, though, with a double batch of perfect biscuits and over a gallon of gravy.

I will say I did better this year on buying the ingredients I would need:  Ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of sugar, plenty of rice, a fresh bag of raisins.  Oh, and three dozen eggs.  The one thing I didn't consider was milk; up until two years ago, I milked a cow and never lacked for milk and cream.  But now our milk comes from the grocery store, and I forgot how much of it is consumed, both by cooking, and by people who love to drink milk.  So there were three separate runs for milk during the week.  Planning a meal is harder than it used to be!

Overall, it's a nice problem to have, because we get to see our son for a few days each year, and that's what it's all about.  It was nice making the "cookie of the day" each day, and rediscovering desserts I never bother to make for me and Cliff (brownie pudding, yes!  With ice cream on top while it's still warm).  Once, while digging around in the deep freeze, I found apple pie filling for one pie in the depths of the thing.  I had prepared apples by peeling and slicing them, mixing them in the sugar and cinnamon necessary, and putting them in a pie plate to freeze; then I took the frozen product out of the pie pan and placed it in a gallon baggie.  

All I had to do was make the crust, put the prepared-and-frozen filling in it, and bake it for a half-hour longer than I normally would.  It was delicious!  I hope I get myself off the computer and into the kitchen this fall when apples are ready at the orchard, because I wouldn't mind having enough saved, ready-made fillings for half-a-dozen pies.  

Awhile back I bought a device that was supposed to teach Gabe not to bark at people; a reader wanted to know more about it so she could try it on her dog.  There are several kinds, but if you want to see one similar to mine, click HERE.  Now let me give you the bad news:  After a month or so, Gabe figured out it didn't hurt his ears all that much and began barking again.  The thing still works, but it no longer works on him; push the button all you like, but there's no result any more.  I do think it helped him learn to mind me better and obey my commands, though.  When you read reviews on the thing, you'll see it doesn't work for all dogs.

Until next time,



Margaret said...

I don't entertain that frequently, so it's difficult for me to gauge how much food/drink I'll need. For my 4th of July get together, I made so much potato salad that I was eating it for a week afterward. Oh, well, I like my potato salad, which is actually Patt's "recipe." Nothing better in the summer than a fruit pie!


sounds like you had a houseful. glad everything worked out well in the cooking department.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I can relate to what you are saying. Like you I cooked for a crowd for many years. I still cook way more than is needed and I don't mind as I love leftovers. More than anything is the work it takes to feed a crowd. I don't have it anymore to do what it takes. My energy level is not what it used to be. After one day of cooking for a crowd and I need a rest. Anyway I'm glad you could do it and had people in to cook for. It does make us happy to have family come home!

Margie's Musings said...

How I enjoy the stories about your family!