See a letter from Ellen about the donation campaign. Your help matters!

Cook Talk

Do I have enough for a big crowd
This summer we will be hosting a large gathering at the beach. We're unsure of the numbers because people tend to come that don't RSVP but we know we will have no less than 100 and more likely 150 or more. Folks will be bringing covered dishes so I have no idea what kind of food will be coming in. It could be all desserts, all snacks or main courses - you just never know what they will bring. The problem is they will begin arriving around 10 and most are going to stay pretty much all day so there will be a lot of "grazing" going on and playing on the water makes folks hungry. My philosophy. after lunch has been served and the last guest fed - the remainder is gone when it's gone - I just want enough for everyone to have lunch. Some will be traveling long distances so I don't expect they will contribute to the meal - with these variables I just sort of want to reassure myself that with what I and my daughters prepare we could feed the crowd if no one else brought a thing. I am making a 30 quart pot of seafood gumbo - I have five pounds of crabmeat and 15 pounds of peeled/deheaded shrimp that will be in the gumbo. I have 10 pounds of uncooked rice that I will be preparing and I have ten boxes of crackers. Additionally I have 125 half ears of corn in the freezer and I plan on harvesting at least 150 potatoes, I have 15 pounds of sausage cut into 1 inch pieces that I have frozen and we will go shrimping prior - hopefully we will catch enough, and had planned on putting in at least 40-45 pounds of de-headed shrimp or should I plan on more shrimp (if we don't catch enough we'll go to the local market and purchase shrimp. I'm going to do about three dozen Nathan Hot Dogs and will smoke about 50 pieces of chicken for the non seafood eaters. I have 8 pounds of dried beans that I plan on cooking with ham along with Mexican cornbread, we'll have slaw and potato salad. We'll be serving sliced watermelon and making 4 freezers of homemade ice cream, and I plan on buying key lime pie. Like I said 100 have already replied and I really feel like there will be more like 150 present. I know some will bring dishes - but does it sound like I have the bulk of the meal prepared just in case everyone shows up empty handed. Realistically I do know that some people are going to bring food - I just have no idea what it will be. Do I need to add more to the shrimp boil or the gumbo. At least 25 will be children but in my experience these kids can eat a lot after paddling boats and swimming. I have plenty of beverages - lots of tea and sodas, lemonade and several cases of water
OK, 150 people or there abouts

30 quart pot of seafood gumbo - I have five pounds of crabmeat and 15 pounds of peeled/deheaded shrimp at will be in the gumbo.
As far as I am concerned, this is the definitive gumbo guide; take a look:

10 pounds of uncooked rice- ok

ten boxes of crackers- OK

125 half ears of corn in the freezer- make enough for 1 piece per person
butter, 6 pounds per 100 for corn and potatoes There are many other topping amounts on the taco/potato bar page

150 potatoes,

15 pounds of sausage cut into 1 inch pieces- maybe cut smaller, appetizer pennies

40-45 pounds of de-headed shrimp- plenty, need 1 cup per 4-5 cocktail sauce

3 dozen Nathan Hot Dogs- ok, buns
50 pieces of chicken- ok

8 pounds of dried beans- this is what I make for a side dish for 100. Consider making some meatless, in case there are any veggie eaters in the crowd

Mexican cornbread- do make some plain- 9x13 pan per 10, butter 3 pounds

Consider adding French bread, about 12 pounds

slaw- 4 gallons
potato salad- 6 gallons

sliced watermelon- 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person?
4 freezers of homemade ice cream-
key lime pie- 4?
a full sheet cake would make a good back up dessert, but salads and desserts are what people tend to bring.

Laissez le bon temps roulez!

Thanks. I had totally underestimated potato salad and slaw and had not even thought of doing part of the dry beans as vegetarian. I'm not doing quite as much cocktail sauce because knowing my family and relatives - they are going to want a variety. I have cocktail sauce, but also roumalaude, tartar, spicy ketchup, ketchup, Tiger Sauce and horseradish to mix with any of the above. I'm definitely going to add to the corn and as for butter, I have opted for tubs of country crock and a lot of bottles of squeeze parkay. I certainly appreciate all the help. Everyone thought undertaking seafood would be a challenge, but since we are located on the bay we catch our own shrimp and crab and we plant a large garden plot each year. It may not seem like a good choice for some that are located elsewhere in the state or country, but it was a much easier option for us. We regularly have neighborhood fish frys and cookouts so I have the big pots and outdoor cookers that I need - it is just that our neighborhood get togethers are only about 50 people - the numbers and amounts - were a bit difficult - I want to have enough, but I don't want to be wasteful either. Again, Thank you so much for your fast response.
You are welcome. If it saves you time, trouble, or money, please consider a donation, maybe a dime or quarter per guest, to support this site. Thanks.
E-Mail: (optional)