Parties and Celebrations

Inspired by Jas. What do you make for a crowd? Where do you have it and how do you prep if self catering? I will not host a huge party inside my home.

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Hmmm. Considering that confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 50% overnight in my area and by 40% the night before, I would not be planning any crowd gatherings for the next few months.

Assuming it is something you have-to, got-to do, I would plan it for some large outdoor space such as reserving the picnic area in a local park. This means folks would have ample 'personal space' and there would likely be adequate public restroom space to allow handwashing in addition to lots of available hand sanitizer.

Disposable plates, utensils, glassware and plenty of garbage bags to secure it all. Invite guests to bring blankets to sit on in their normal family groupings rather than squash in together at picnic tables.

Menu would be grill items--marinated chicken drums you bring on site in the big zip locks they marinade in. Hot dogs and hamburgers only if you can figure some way that everybody isn't handling the same condiment containers. Individual bags of chips or potato salad and slaw you have put into lidded disposable individual serving containers before you went. Beverages in individual serving containers and have someone with clean hands pulling them out of the ice to keep a self selection 'bar' available for guests. Brownies or cookies put into individual zip lock bags for guest self selection.

In other words, a whole lot of landfill stuff to try to keep folks as safe as possible.
I'm going to take this as a thread to think about normalcy and not the scary virus that is in the fore-front.

I just cooked a 6 lb spiral sliced ham in the slow cooker tonight and it was delicious. I mixed some pineapple juice, maple syrup, and dijon mustard, poured it over the ham, and cooked it on low for about 4 1/2 hours. That would be a great thing for a party as it is spiral-sliced so it will go a long way and it can be used for sandwiches - hot or cold. My friend and I have thrown a couple of picnics in a local park. They have a pavilion that has electricity so my crock pot can stay plugged in and keep food warm. Last time I did pulled pork. When you get it on sale it is a pretty cheap way to feed a crowd.

Kim
My favorites for big crowd events depend on the event and the people involved.

I love to make huge hotel pans of lasagna and these days that means vegan pans and meat pans with all the traditional cheese. Huge green salad, tons of buttery garlic bread (and olive oily garlic bread) and dessert of fruit salad and lots of homemade cheesecakes. Lasagna gets made two days in advance, cheesecakes the day before the event. Garlic bread is sliced and 'dressed' the night before the event and wrapped in foil so it just needs some baking time. Fruit is ripened on the counter until it needs refrigeration and it and the green salad are cleaned and cut up on the day of the event.

I have a wonderful marinade for chicken that is sherry and soy based. I really like to marinate drumsticks for 48 hours and then cook them on a charcoal grill. I pack them back into the emptied zip locks used for marinating them once cooked because they will get put back on the grill to finish them right before serving. I usually do a KISS pasta salad to go with it, using colorful items in it like halved cherry tomatoes, black olives, green onions, chopped broccoli florettes, maybe even tri-color pasta and dress it with bottled salad dressing (a favorite is a Vidalia onion vinaigrette while ranch is also good). Dessert is likely to be peach cobbler made using a #10 can of sliced peaches (even if fresh peaches are in season) in one of my big hotel pans.
If you have a Gordon Food Services in your town, they have very large bags (4 pounds I think?) of 50/50 chopped Romaine and Iceburg mix in cryovac, and they also have a Mesclun salad blend in a 2.5 pound bag. Both are washed and ready to go. The two mixed together could feed about 100 people easily. You can throw some pints of grape tomatoes in and have a few containers of chopped mushrooms or other things on the side for more adventurous folks, but there are just so many picky people out there I hate to mix too many ingredients directly into the salad.

I love renting out the Italian American Club for our larger gatherings, it makes cleanup so much easier, bring in paper plates and disposable utensils and it's fine (of course, in these times of trouble, that can't happen for awhile). The club actually has full service plates, bowls, etc. but no dishwasher, so I am not about to stand in the kitchen for a couple of hours after the party to clean!!! This place has a dining area that seats 100+ people and it has a functional kitchen and a bar. The catch is that people who are invited to the events can't bring drinks in, you have to buy soft drinks or cocktails from the bar, but they are inexpensive. My husband's grandfather and family have been members for years, but in our area, it's not just for Italians. It was for a long time but then it was deemed discriminatory and now they let non-Italians be members, LOL! Anyway, because we are members, it's about $50 to rent it out for a night. They will rent to non-members for more. There might be places where you live you could seek out that have inexpensive prices.
$50 is a great price. I've seen places like that go for around $400. There is one place friends have rented for $150 because someone lives in that township.

Kim
That's the non-member price for our club, $150. But it's a small neighborhood place, nothing fancy. We have our Christmas party there every year. There are photos on the wall from the 1940s with my husband's grandfather and his brothers and their wives. Lot's of nostalgia.
Depends on the crowd. For me, I hand make these:

Lumpia / Filipino egg rolls.
Jasmine or Calrose Rice
Homemade cheese dip with Velveeta with tortilla chips
Roast pork bought pre-made at the Asian market.
A couple other Filipino dishes such as sinigang, kaldareta and/or bistek.
Hot wings, pizza rolls and homemade crab rangoons for the uncultured.
A hand-pick charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, cured meats, pickled pairings, nuts, etc.
A batch of jungle juice.
A variety of spirits and mixers. If people don't know what to drink, most people that are okay to drink will usually enjoy my green tea shots (Jameson, peach schnapps and pineapple juice), Scooby Snacks (Malibu, Midori, whipped cream and pineapple juice) or my awesome AMF's.
Non-alcoholic beverages.

The above have been my typical formula over the years for my house parties and that typically works for basically all crowds I've had over.

As for setting up, I have those awesome party trays that stay warm, then have a separate location in my kitchen for a bar setup (or my basement at the wet bar too).

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
My go to dishes are macaroni and cheese and a cheese hot dish.

The cheese hot dish is something my stepsons loved. The bottom layer is chopped onions, the next layer is a cream cheese and soup mixture and the top layer is tater tots. Of course, I add bacon.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2020 01:30AM by HonnyBrown.
In the part of the southwest where I am from we always had the same things, with few variations. A huge pot of chili beans. Barbequed chicken. Potato salad. Favorite add ons were green salads, tamales and any and all desserts.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
Thank you, I am loving your responses! Party is not for a few months, fingers crossed. I have too many people to have in my home but if I need to scale it down and host it due to the C word, it will be do-able. Make ahead would be great. If at my home, I am probably going to do half myself and half catered. BTW, I love everything you all are suggesting especially Lumpia which I will never attempt, lol. Our local veteran's/military halls charge $450 for a small room and $750 for the larger. I would definitely need the larger. Don't know any members. :-(
Please continue to share. On another note, I like party favors. My go to has been Hershey bars with custom wrappers. I have also done custom candles, candy bags, baby pine trees and succulents. They were all liked or at least I would like to think so. It's a graduation party. I was planning a friends (Dd's) party at a beautiful bar with some of our friends as well and a family party at a restaurant. My DH and I have 12 siblings and their families between us.
There are places around here that are owned by the town that will give discounts to residents of the town. Check around to see if your town has a community center that they rent out.

Kim
@Madetoshop wrote:

Thank you, I am loving your responses! Party is not for a few months, fingers crossed. I have too many people to have in my home but if I need to scale it down and host it due to the C word, it will be do-able. Make ahead would be great. If at my home, I am probably going to do half myself and half catered. BTW, I love everything you all are suggesting especially Lumpia which I will never attempt, lol. Our local veteran's/military halls charge $450 for a small room and $750 for the larger. I would definitely need the larger. Don't know any members. :-( And "My DH and I have 12 siblings and their families between us"

I would think with that many siblings between your family, someone has to at least been in the military. Check them out, that alone may get you a cheaper rate for the larger room. Not all VFW or military Halls subscribe to only local residents. It will be worthwhile looking into.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/2020 03:30AM by sojo917.
I plan on working from home for the next year. My regular inventory job is decimated from this virus, not my fault. Will not be going back if called. Entitled to EI and other benefits. I am busy four to six days a week with mystery shopping. Personally, I actually thought it might be fun to continue this way and take a sign walking job for fun two days a week to get out of the house. Mostly, I just want my social life, pool, and choir back. As far as large crowds or working in retail, I can live without them.
This I miss being Italian. Hardest part. Even miss my mother and her complaining about people not liking her burnt steaks and obsession with monochromatic house decorating.
Ah, Mom and burnt steak...I know it well! My Mom is a great cook, but she grew up thinking that meat had to be cooked well done. I remember sitting at the dinner table cutting my steak into tiny pieces so I could swallow it whole.

Then I moved to Kansas. At a restaurant with some coworkers, I ordered a rib eye well done. They were ready to take me out back. I ordered the steak medium rare. I was in heaven.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
Your coworkers saved your life, and possibly your palate. Thank goodness for those people who really care about you!
Exactly JAS! That opened a whole new world for me. I actually enjoyed steak when I didn't need to saw it with a knife.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I continue to saw. I cannot bear to see any hint of pink let alone red. Years ago a friend told me his Aunt ordered filet mignon
well done at a fancy restaurant and the chef refused to prepare it that way. They didn't walk. I would have.
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