Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cooking for 100

A finished lunch with extra pasta salad
Wow what a challenge- a good hot lunch for 75 -100 people made in a kitchen I have never seen before - made in about 3 hours. A team of eight people (make that seven) will be cooking for the people sifting through the debris in Joplin. Each day Calvary Christian, a church north of Joplin, Missouri makes lunch for disaster volunteers. I am honored to be making food for these people and a little nervous. I want it to be a great meal but it has got to be easy.We don't have much time and that is a lot of people. I feel like I am on an episode of Dinner: Impossible.When we get there, we find out that we are packing the lunches and taking them to the neighborhoods. There will also be people who show up at the church for lunch. Our plan was to make pasta salad, sloppy joes, and a peach and a pineapple crumble.

Pasta Salad


3 qt (2.8 l) of Mayonnaise
1 Bottle (16 oz/ 473 ml) of French Salad Dressing
1/4-1/3 Cup (60-80 ml) of Vinegar
1/4 Cup (62 g) of Sugar
1 Cup (240 ml) of  Light Cream
1 1/2 Tsp of Onion Powder
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Tsp of Salt
2 Tsp of Pepper


3 lb (1.35 kg) of Fully Cooked Ham, Cubed or Sliced
8 lb (3.6 kg) of Macaroni, (4 lb/1.8 kg uncooked) Cooked, Rinsed Under Cold Water and Drained
3 lb (1.35 kg) Shredded Cheddar Cheese
40 oz. (1134 g) Frozen Peas, Thawed
2 Bunches Celery, Chopped
2 Large Onions, Chopped
1 Large Bag of Baby Carrots, Chopped

Combine first 7 ingredients. Combine all dressing ingredients; pour over the pasta mixture and toss well to coat. Refrigerate. This salad is best if it is made the day before. (We made two bowls of pasta salad and divided all of the ingredients except the ham between the bowls that way we had a meatless pasta salad).
One of the pasta salads
Sloppy Joes
20 lbs (9 kg) of Ground Beef
4 Large Onions, Chopped
1 Cup (200 g) of Packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup (240 g) of Spicy Brown Mustard
4 Cups (1,088 g) of Ketchup
2 cans (12 oz/340 g each) of Tomato Paste
4 cans (15 oz/425 g each) of Tomato Sauce
6 to 8 Cups (1.4 l to 1.89 l) of Water
1 Cup (240 ml) of Vinegar
2/3 Cup (160 ml) of Worcestershire Sauce
100 hamburger buns

Preheat oven to 350F/176C /Gas Mark 4. In a large dutch oven or skillet , brown the beef and onion  in batches until meat is browned. Drain the beef and place in  a large roaster. In a separate bowl combine add the next eight ingredients (except water). Once all of the beef is browned and added to the roasting pans add the tomato mixture and add water. (We split the meat between two roasting pans). Bake in the oven for 2-4 hours. Serve on buns.
Sloppy joes; sloppy sloppy joes
Peach and Pineapple Crumble 

1 Gallon (3.78 l) Can of Sliced peaches, Drained, Reserve the Juice
1 Gallon (3.78 l) Can of Pineapple Chunks or Crushed Pineapple, Drained,  Reserve the Juice
4-5 lb (1.8 kg to 2.25 kg) of Yellow Cake Mix
1 1/2 lbs (675 g) of Brown Sugar
1 1/2 lbs (675 g) of Butter, Softened
Cinnamon, To Taste

Pour drained pineapple into a large roasting pan and drained peaches into another roasting pan. If necessary add some of the juice back to the fruit so they are moist looking (we did not need to add any juice back).

Mix cake mix, sugar, butter and cinnamon together until forming crumb-size bits. May need to add more or less butter to get the right consistency for the crumbs. Sprinkle this mix over the top of the fruit.

Bake at 350F/176C/Gas Mark 4 for 1 hour or until golden brown.

The almost gone crumble
Here is how we did:

We made the salad dressing in the morning before we left. We drove the two plus hours to Joplin and immediately began assessing the kitchen. It was a great kitchen: two ovens, lots of pots and pans, and lots of room. The people from the church were great. We immediately began browning meat, boiling water, and chopping  onions. It look us about an hour and a half and we had everything in the ovens and all of the chopping done.
Baking in the oven
By 11:00 we had the assembly line set up and we were ready to go. We made some meatless lunches first and then made lunches with sloppy joes. One crumble (on the bottom of the oven) was ready so I turned up the oven temperature and hoped for the best. We had homemade cookies from a church member so when we ran out of the pineapple crumble, we used the cookies (until the crumble was done). Finally the peach crumble was done, and we finished packing the lunches and packed up a couple of coolers of drinks and we were off. While we were gone, the assembly line was efficiently changed to serve lunches buffet style. We delivered lunches and drinks and were devastated by what we saw. I felt guilty about leaving; I wanted to do more.

The bottom line: Will I do this again? I hope so. It was a small thing to do for a small number of  people who are helping those in Joplin. I hope a nice lunch and a short break made their day a bit better. I know that it had a profound effect on me.

No comments:

Post a Comment