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Cook Talk

Fresh vs Canned or Instant
Jana
11/03/13
Hello Ellen,
Our Girl Scout Troop of 24 8 and 9th grade girls will be hosting their first Community Thanksgiving Dinner. With the help of the leaders and some parent. In the interest of serving a good quality meal with only 1 1/2 days to really cook, we are wondering which items are best to buy and cook fresh and which items we should consider buying frozen, canned or instant.(Potatoes,Yams,Green beans), without sacrificing on the quality and taste? Normally we would all use Fresh.
ellen
11/03/13
How many guests? How will you serve? Will the families of the girls be dining here also? What kind of kitchen and how many ovens?

Please have all the girls read my article on "Community Feasts, An introduction" at the top of Big Pots before they begin their plans.

Jana
11/05/13
We are planning for up to 200 people over a 3 hour period. We will serve buffet style. The dinner is open to the community but we try to reach those who are in need. Families of the girls probably will not attend but some will help cook, supervise and clean up.

The church kitchen we are using has 10 burners and 2 double rack ovens. We plan to cut up the raw turkeys and cook dark meat day before and cook breast day of the event. We only have a few hours each day but the 4 leaders can also use our home ovens since we all live very close and can handle the food safely.

We have thoroughly read your post on having a community feast and will review it again before the event. Thank you, it was very helpful. We have receive a number of donations to purchase food and supplies but we have buy all the food and cook it in a short amount of time. Would love to cook all fresh but the peeling of all those potatoes scare some of us.

ellen
11/05/13
You might consider doing yam casseroles with canned yams, perfectly acceptable. The "Ellen's better green bean casserole" uses canned vegetables and is delicious- one recipe serves about 60.

The potatoes are a challenge. Scalloped potatoes, baked, peels left on, with or without cheese, would be a very good alternative and serve as a main dish for people who won't eat turkey.

You will need at least 80 seats and a 2 sided line to serve this many over this time period. Do involve the girls in the budgeting and buying as well as they cooking and serving.

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