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Cook Talk

Retirement Open House for 350 - 400
Hi Ellen, We're having an open house buffet police retirement party from 1 PM - 5 PM on Sunday, 10/6/13 in a rented venue. They have a small commercial kitchen & are supplying the tables & chairs & large grill. Everything else is up to us. The RSVPs, which were handled at headquarters, have skyrocketed from 172 just 2 weeks ago to 350 as of last night. Just to be safe I'm planning for 400 people for the burgers & dogs & holding it down to 350 people for the side dishes in the hopes of not having too many leftovers, if any. Would you take a look at these numbers & see what you think?

snack station:
potato chips 24 lbs (already have)
pretzel sticks 12 lbs (already have)
honey pretzels 3.5 lbs (already have)
raisin nut mix 12 lbs (already have)
plain popcorn 2 3 gallon bowls (will airpop fresh that day)

20 1.25 gallon bowls of "cop-corn" (chocolate covered popcorn) on each table as centerpiece

hot dogs 192 (already have)
Polish sausage 196 (already have)
hot dog rolls 396

6 oz burgers 390
cheese slices 240
veggie burgers 40
hamburger rolls 432

baked beans 18 #10 cans (already have)
sauerkraut 4 1 gal jars(already have)
onion sauce # 10 can (already have)
hot dog chili 1 big can
pickle relish 2 1 gal jars (already have)

green olives 360 ct jar (already have)
black olives #10 can (already have)
pepper slices gal jar (already have)
pickle chips 3 1.5 gal pails

ketchup 2 #10 cans (already have)
yellow mustard #10 jug (already have)
dijon mustard gal jar (already have)

German potato salad 80 - 96 lbs
coleslaw 60 lbs
macaroni salad 60 lbs
mixed green salad 1 roaster full

people are making:
pesto pasta salad 10 lbs
potato salad 10 lbs

desserts - figuring 1200 pieces total

homemade cake 200 pieces
brownie/cookies 100 pieces
brownies 100 pieces
cookies 144
choco covered pretzels 320
choco covered cake pops 200
mini candy bars 500 pieces
should I get a 5 lb platter of David's cookies?

large fruit bowl with grape mini clusters, apples & clementines

people are making:
cookies (don't know how many)
cookies (don't know how many)
2 crumb cakes (don't know how big)

beer 2 kegs
birch beer 1 keg
wine - the liquor store owner is advising on quantities, any thoughts?

soda 12 oz can 96 cans (have)
water 16.9 oz bottles 240 bottles (have)
iced tea in 2 gal dispenser 6 - 8 gal
cider in 2 gal dispenser 6 - 8 gal

coffee 1 large can large urn
hot water large urn
assorted teas 24 teabags (already have)
hot chocolate mix 12 packages (already have)
sugar 100 packets
sweetner 50 packets
milk 1 gal
sliced lemon 1 lemon

ice 400 lbs

12 oz beer/soda cups 1000 (already have)
9 oz wine/cider cups 500 (already have)
8 oz hot cups 100
coffee stirrers 100 (already have)

9" dinner plates 1000 (already have)
6" dessert plates 500 (already have)
dinner napkins(case) 3000 (already have)

heavy weight cutlery:
forks 1000 (already have)
spoons 400 (already have)
knives 200 (already have)

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Hey, BC, you hardly need me! Your food looks great.

You might want to check the fruit- you need about 40 pounds

The beverages could use some work.

beer 2 kegs- Each full keg only makes 200 glasses, and most beer drinkers drink 4- so this is only about 100 people's worth. Is that enough?
birch beer 1 keg- 50-80 people?
wine - the liquor store owner is advising on quantities, any thoughts? Usually about 1/2 bottle per wine drinker

soda 12 oz can 96 cans (have)- this depends on teen/kids- OK if you don't have too many
water 16.9 oz bottles 240 bottles (have)- allow at least 1 bottle per person in an outdoor situation.
iced tea in 2 gal dispenser 6 - 8 gal- might be way short- maybe 16 gallons? 1/3 unsweetened
cider in 2 gal dispenser 6 - 8 gal- don't know, not a usual in this par of the country.

coffee 1 large can large urn
Some large urns are 100 cups, some are 50. Since you have both wine and beer, I suggest you have at least 300 cups- and stop serving liquor about 1 hour before the end of the party
hot water large urn-OK
assorted teas 24 teabags (already have)- 80-
hot chocolate mix 12 packages (already have)- get bulk- 60
sugar 100 packets- at least 300
sweetner 50 packets- at least 200
milk 1 gal - 3 whole milk and also get a couple of large cremora's
sliced lemon 1 lemon- (kidding, right?) a dozen-

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, do please make a donation, maybe a dime per person, to support this site.

Hi Ellen, thank you so much for your help. I've been reading & taking notes from your site for the past month & trying to come up with a plan to make this party a success. When the numbers jumped the other day I started to panic.

At most parties around here they don't even serve coffee or tea & I really miss it, so no, I wasn't joking about 1 lemon! I will take your advice have more lemons washed & ready to cut & bulk up on all the other beverages.

Do you think I should get the 5 lbs of David's cookies or ask some other people to bake or just let the desserts run out?

I went to make a donation & PayPal keeps saying "BC, please review your recurring donation" even though the recurring box isn't checked. Any idea of what's happening? Thanks again for your help, I'll report back after the party in case my experience might help someone else.

Well I will check on the Paypal...

You have enough desserts, no more cookies needed. You should have a fine party, just recruit enough help! About 5 people to handle the kitchen, 2-3 for the grill, about 20 to set up, serve, and cleanup the dining room.

Church Octoberfest for 200
Having to decide on a plate of Polish sausage, German potato salad, sauerkraut
or serve polish sausage sandwiches and German potato salad.
I need to know how much polish sausage to buy and a receipt for German Potato salad.
For plates you need:

Polish sausage, 1 pound per 3
sauerkraut, 1/3 cup per person

Fried apples or applesauce would be very nice with this, 1/2 cup per person

do have rolls or rye bread, 24 pounds for 200
2 jars of mustard for each table, mild and spicy

Here is the recipe for basic German poato salad for 100:

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