WFMW: Food For A Crowd

My WFMW tip this week is about planning food for large groups.

I used to work at a deli and, therefore, made a LOT of deli trays for parties. We also sold a lot of potato salad, macaroni salad, etc. We would often be asked how to estimate how much food was needed for this or that.

Our rule of thumb was "One and a half".

The reason is that many men will take two servings and women/children will often take one.

If you are serving potato, macaroni or pasta salad, one serving would be about 1/2 cup. If someone had a group of 50 people, we'd estimate they would need 37 cups or about 9 quarts.

If you are making a deli tray with ham, turkey and cheese, you would assume each person will be taking a slice of each meat and one slice of cheese. For 50 people, you'd get 75 slices of cheese and 150 slices of meat. In this case, I'd actually put a larger portion of meat towards ham since more people tend to choose at least one slice of ham and only about 1/2 of them will choose turkey. I'd go with 90 slices of ham and 60 of turkey.

I also use this for mashed potatoes. Assuming I have average sized potatoes, I count out 1.5 per person to prepare. I have never run out of mashed potatoes using this rule.

The way I do it is to find out what an average serving size is, multiply it by the number of people attending, multiply that by 1.5 and there is your answer. If that doesn't sound like enough, always err on the side of caution and order/make more. I'd always prefer to have too much and take it home or send it home with people than to run out.

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Stephanie said...

That is good to remember!

Anonymous said...

Great tips! I always worry that I don't have enough. Now I can better prepare!

Alexandra said...

I always wondered how they figured out how much for crowds with catered food. Interesting!

Margaret said...

Oy Vey - that's a lot of math. :)