DS is being baptised in a couple of months and I'm planning a bit of a gathering afterwards. There will be approx 40 people and I need a bit of guidance about how much food I need to prepare. It will be a lunchtime thing so will need to fill people up. Would rather have pre cooked/cold foods to save the faff of heating things up at the venue. Any suggestions welcome!
I'd do the same as Cowgirl. I don't like buffets with lots and lots of things which don't 'go' together, so I'd prefer a couple of big cheeses, crackers, breads, grapes, celery, big bowl homemade coleslaw, big bowl of green salad, bowl of cherry tomatoes etc.
I would slow cook some meat (pork, lamb shoulder, chicken) and shred it. Serve in big bowls alongside a pile of flatbread, salad, dips conscious and sides. For veggies do a bill of spiced roast vegetables so they are still having the same meal iyswim.
I would do a big glazed ham with potato salad, bean salads, coleslaw, bread rolls, green salads. Maybe some nice cumberland sausages. Or a big bowl of coronation chicken <old school> Some cheese boards and crackers.
I know you said you would rather do cold but really, I think hot is easier, much easier. If you do a cold buffet you end up having to have lots of plates with different things on. With hot food you can do, say, two different casseroles, both of which you could make weeks in advance and freeze, and serve with bowls of green salad (buy bagged) and a variety of different rolls (portion control is easier with rolls!).
We've done 3 Baptisms so far, with approx that number of adults (children extra). For both winter ones I felt it was appropriate that people had something hot. Have done enormous pizzas (Costco) for children which went down a storm with adults and kids. Quiches which can be heated. Would second the casseroles or mild curries idea. Make and freeze, then do with salads, and breads. Or rice, I borrowed 2 more rice cookers to do masses of fresh rice to go with the curries. My mum has done a huge salmon v successfully but I haven't been brave enough yet!
To be honest, the summer one was much easier, the weather was glorious and we did the whole thing outside. Huge pasta salad, greek salad (Always a winner for some reason) new potatoes tossed in butter and mint (these were still warm) cold quiches, green salad, breads, cheese board.
And plenty of pudding all three times round! Seemed to be what people remember... Good luck