Way OT but need help planning party for 50

2ajsmamaMarch 9, 2013

I posted on Entertaining but that forum looks pretty slow - lots of old threads. I need help helping with a 100th birthday party less than 1 month away (my dad's uncle).

His DD has got a hall, wanted to do potluck since she doesn't have much money, 1 granddaughter is bringing sausage and peppers and mac and cheese (I don't know how much), a friend is bringing baked beans. I want to try to suggest to my (dad's) cousin that she ask people to prepare specific things (maybe 2 more big pans of sausage, 3 of meatballs, 5 of baked pasta with sauce) rather than letting people bring whatever they want.

Where should I post to get suggested menu for 1pm party, and quantities (as well as tactful way to suggest a "menu")?


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What about the cooking forum?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 11:47PM
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I will try that - it said it was for cooking techniques so I went to Entertaining instead.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 7:15AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Ellen's Kitchen is a site with a section called "Get Out the Big Pots" with sample menus and recipes for large groups, including "Thrifty Entrees for 50-100". Just scroll down the page and I think you'll find everything you need.


Here is a link that might be useful: Ellen's Kitchen

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:03PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I may be way off-base here as it may be just a regional thing or more likely a generational thing. I'm not quite the 100 year old generation but only one generation removed. :)

Anyway we are big on potlucks here - go to one almost weekly with lots of friends and neighbors. And one of the big appeals of them for our generation is that they are NOT menu structured buffets. Those are for the young folks.

Everyone prefers the spontaneity of the selections brought. No one cares if there are more desserts than main dishes or too many salads or if 5 people all bring macaroni salads since they are all different. It is a fun way to try new things, share recipes, and splurge on sweets. If we want the 4 food groups represented in a balanced fashion we can eat at home.

Everyone has their favorites they like to bring and don't really care to be told what they "should" bring and let you know it. That balanced selections buffet approach appeals to the younger generations but not to we old fogies. So since this sounds like it is primarily an old fogie get together focusing on him this is just something to think about.

The point is the people getting together for him, enjoying themselves, and feeling comfortable, not the menu.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:04PM
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I agree with Dave. A pot luck has an apeal of its own. Nobody tries to bring enough to feed the whole bunch. Just a pot of something. Everyone will find something they like. (try that with a menu) There will be too much of some things and not enough of others. Don't worry about the food. Make it a memorable day of visiting and being together. That is what it is all about. Have a great day. It is something you will remember for years to come.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:06PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I agree completely!
Ease up on controlling the food, tell people to bring whatever they want AND the recipe!

Bring a story or memory to share about the honored guest.
Those could be compiled into a book or binder later and given to the birthday boy!

Just have fun.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 5:20PM
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I'd suggest that the immediate family focus on the protein, beverages and of course the celebratory cake for the centenarian. These items can be "chosen" by the family member. Then on the invitations request side dishes, salads, casseroles and desserts.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:34PM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

I agree with Dave and a Deanna Potluck is just that, whatever someone feels like making. When it is your turn to host a100th bd party, suggest away. Make something you consider apropriate and let others do the same. We have potlucks at my work, and a coworker just HAD to start telling us what to bring. That is not potluck. Just my HO.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Thanks for all the advice. I wish I'd seen the comment about getting people to write a "memory" to be put into a book but I just started posting on Cooking looking for help and didn't come back here until now. Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "potluck", my cousin's intention was originally to have the rest of the family (and very close friends) supply all the food since she had spent more than her budget on renting the hall, but it didn't work out that way. She ended up buying 2 hams, coffee, soda, and water as well.

I made Chicken Marbella (10 lbs), about half was left but practically all the 10 lbs of roasted potatoes I made were eaten. One grand-daughter made 10 lbs of Shake and Bake chicken, almost all of that went, plus the 20 lbs of ham (about half eaten? Maybe 1 ham would have been enough) and the homemade rolls that her sister made (I didn't ask how many, but she must have been baking all day/for days). I *am* glad that we prepared the protein since there wasn't much kielbasa in the HUGE (18x13?) pan of sauerkraut (most left over), and the only other meat was a 9x13 pan of sausage and peppers. We also had to work with just heating things in the oven, since we weren't allowed to use Sterno and were told we could only plug in 1 coffee urn (or other appliance) at a time otherwise we'd trip the breaker, so most items had to be served at room temperature.

There were lots of side dishes, and many (like a wonderful cold chicken and pasta salad, and the veggie/dip platter) were practically untouched. No desserts except cake and ice cream (unless you count the "salad" made with fruit, pudding and Cool Whip - though come to think of it, I think I did see a big plate of cookies in the kitchen earlier but it disappeared before I got done putting food away & washing utensils). Should have had more water, I don't know how much soda went, but all 24 8-oz bottles of water she had bought "for the kids", the gallon of iced tea, and 1.5 gals of lemonade did. Too bad she made 90 cups of coffee b/c I don't think we drank half of it. I was told there were 65 or so people coming, but I think 10 of them were kids, and there were only 40-odd adults since we had tables set for 72 and they weren't full. I spent most of the time in the kitchen so I didn't really get a chance to count heads LOL.

My great-uncle had a good time, one of his grand-daughters had made up posters with family photos "100 years of Love" (wedding photos) "100 Years of Family" etc. (I didn't get a chance to look at them all) and there was also an album I'm going to have to go visit him to see since I was in the kitchen most of the time. One of his great-grandsons serenaded him (he's been performing in local theater since he was 5, his 13 now and has been accepted to local performing arts high school for the fall).

He got a garden scooter (tractor seat, big mud tires and a 5-gal bucket in the back) in John Deere green and I had made him a carry-all bag to put his cordless phone, pen, notebook, etc. attached to his walker (too bad there's no place to hang it on the scooter - no handlebars). Maybe I'll make him a "man bag" to hang around his neck while he's on the scooter in case he wants to bring the phone and a notebook out in the garden - I have JD fabric. He can't wait to get out in the garden, though he can't bend over he likes to supervise his DD and her fiance LOL.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 8:16

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:08AM
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