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Cook Talk

Lunch for 250 homeless and working poor
We will be serving lunch to about 250 adults and children who will be attending a charitable Christmas Celebration. We serve 11:00-2:00. We know from past experience that they like snack foods rather than a wholesome meal. We are thinking of serving ham and cheese sandwiches on dollar rolls, little smokies in BBQ sauce, nachos, and fruit salad. And of course desserts. What would you add to this? Perhaps mac and cheese? They don't care for potato salad very much.
Consider having at least a choice of sandwiches, including turkey , or chicken salad, as well as ham.

The little smokies are expensive. Smoked sausage sliced into dollars and simmered with onions and bell pepper (you can buy these frozen) are even more popular and less costly.

Mac and cheese would be an excellent side dish choice for protein and calcium, as well as popularity, and one or two hot dishes would be wise for a winter lunch. Lasagna woulkd be even more popular and a step up on the festive scale.

For the nachos, there is plenty of info on the taco/potato bar page.

My article on community hospitality here:

would be useful for both your planners and your volunteers, even if you don't do a turkey dinner.

I understand that regular soup kitchen meals may be unpopular. Still, it is hard to imagine a real turkey dinner would be neglected for a sandwich...

This meal is not to be a substitute for Christmas dinner but a lunch at a Christmas celebration before Christmas where children come with parents and meet Santa, get gifts, enjoy crafts, etc.. So it is a fun celebration but not a substitute for Christmas Day. Therefore we were planning a lighter, more party-like meal. I should have made this clear! Thank you for the info on the smoked sausages. I am wondering if meatballs in red sauce might be another hot choice. The smoked sausages would be in BBQ sauce. Thank you!
Thanks for the update!Yes, tiny meatballs are always popular but with the sandwiches and the nachos, I would only do either sausages or meatballs, not both.
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