I seem to be cooking Christmas dinner for 30. Help me.(12 Posts)
So I don't need you to come and peel the sprouts, but I need help planning this. We are posted overseas, and I basically said 'oh come to ours' to every British person who didn't already have plans. Which is fine, we are lucky to have a big house so space isn't really the problem, I just need time / space / oven saving tips please. And I am planning on enjoying it. I love having a house full!
So far we have 3 families with 2 adults and 4+ children. 2 families with 2 adults and 2 children and one child free couple (god help them). So 12 adults and 17 children under 10, 4 of which are mine.
Everyone has asked what they can bring. How should I divide tasks up and what should I ask them to bring? And what to do in advance?
If anyone knows how to do this, you lot do.
My mum has done a similar number lots of times...
She cooked the turkeys (2), beef, gammon and pork on Xmas eve. She chops and peels and preps and puts everything in pots the night before... The table is set the day before too.
She makes a few desserts earlier but asks people to bring dessert and wine generally.
It helps that she has four massive ovens but she says it's not that different than doing a regular Sunday roast
She always does it all in serving dishes too, as often the hardest part is 'x doesn't like sprouts, y loves swede etc'
How big is your oven, do you have BBQs you can also use?
I would ask different people to bring puddings, stuffing, gravy, bread sauce, peeled ready to cook sprouts, wine, carrot puree (or whatever you like), crackers, chocs and you do huge turkeys and roast poatoes/parsnips.
gree let people serve their own children with what they know they will eat.
Prepare EVERYTHING way in advance, even locating and organising things like coffee cups.
If you can afford it go all out, I'm sure people will bring lovely gifts, otherwise specify what exactly would help, 2 bottles of red wine and after dinner chocolates. Check you have enough cutlery.
Make tonnes of roast potatoes.
Have spreadsheet with a timeline and work your way down it during the day.
Columns like this:
Responsible for buying/bringing (this help you allocate who brings what, n.b. dn;t leave something crucial to a guest, they might get a substitute or cancel and then you're stuck)
Cooking dish (have a list of what you have and tick them off as you allocate them to the spreadsheet)
Oven/pan space (as cooking dish, but also be aware of time ovelaps)
Serving dish (as cooking dish)
Length of time to prep (you can make a gant chart for this if you like to show pinch points)
Length of time to cook (ditto gant chart)
Responsible for prepping
Responsible for cooking
Sounds ike a faff, but really, it helps you think it through in advance.
I used to do event/project management
So let any thoughts of eating hot meat fly out of the window. Essentially, cook bird/ham/whatever first, wrap in foil and tea towels and forget about it. Then use the whole oven for potatoes (how many for 30?????) parsnips and carrots.
I'd pre cook sprouts and red cabbage: cook slowly with pancetta the day before then reheat on a tray in the oven with the rest of the veg.
Gravy - I can make my own but in these circs honestly I'd get one of the packs and microwave it. Cranberry sauce from a jar. Bread sauce can GTF anyway.
Cold starter/ get others to bring puds and cheese and booze.
Doable I think?
Oh and eat late. The biggest stress is usually people trying to cook vast amounts of food by 1pm, so have to rise at 3 to put birds in.
Ask the people who live closest to bring the veg (or it will get cold!).
Specify veg/side dishes that won't spoil if they get shoved in the oven/microwave to warm up, e.g. mashed sweet potato, stuffing (separately from bird), gravy, pigs in blankets
Definitely outsource pudding (x2 or 3) and cheese & biscuits
Can you outsource a roast ham or similar so that you only need to cook one turkey/bird?
Things that freeze well: red cabbage; stuffing; mashed veg (swede etc.)
Leave yourself with: meat (x1); roast potatoes & parsnips; peas/sprouts and work up from the rest.
I think the blessing (for the food at least!) is that you have more children than adults and they will eat far less.
Does anyone have a hostess trolley or similar you can borrow? You mention being posted abroad - is there an on site canteen (assuming armed forces?) that would let you borrow some chafing dishes or similar?
Just saw this post - I am doing dinner for 19 - so I applaud you doing 30!
I have delegated as much as possible so someone is doing-
Cheese board & biscuits
Sauces (Bread and Cranberry), pigs in blankets and crackers
Mince pies, nibbles and Prosecco
I am doing the main course (turkey) and side veg. I have already made 5llbs of stuffing and that in the freezer. I am going to do two Turkey Crowns. Veg will be Roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, carrots, and a parsnip butternut squash gratin. And lots of gravy. I have a morning free Christmas Eve so I am going to do the veg prep then, and make gravy. ( a lot of it).
It'll be a squeeze but I am sure it'll be lots of fun. I am going to write lots of lists and do my usual timeline of cooking on the day. Please let us know how you get on!
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