If you are the skilled chef in your family, friend group, or community, then you are probably asked all the time to cook meals for large group outings and gatherings often. Maybe your culinary gifts have just been discovered, and you’ve been asked to cook a large group meal for the first time, or maybe you are a seasoned expert. Either way, there are certain things about cooking large group meals that are challenging in ways that are different than when cooking for smaller groups. Here are three of these challenges in cooking for large groups, and what you can do to navigate them.
The first thing that can make cooking for a large group difficult is different diets amongst members of the group. Perhaps you have a few vegans or vegetarians in the group. Maybe one of your friends started the paleo diet, or maybe there are just some picky eaters in your family that won’t eat certain things. Whatever the reason and whatever the group, odds are there will be differing diets amongst groups. The key to navigating this struggle is to make sure you offer several different options. If you are making a lasagna for instance, perhaps make three smaller lasagnas, one without meat, one with meat and mushrooms, and one with meat and spinach, for those who don’t like mushrooms.
Another thing that makes cooking for a large group difficult is food allergies getting in the way. Food allergies are very serious business, many food allergies can be life-threatening, and even for allergies that are not life-threatening, they are never fun to deal with. The only way around food allergies is avoiding allergens for your group in your cooking. Soy and almond milk are nutritious alternatives to dairy milk if you’re lactose intolerant.
Scaling Up Meals
The final thing that makes cooking for large groups difficult is that scaling up meals is not as easy as you might assume it is. If you have never cooked a large and small version of the same meal before, you may not know exactly how your technique, cooking times, and recipe needs to change. Cooking times often get extender for larger scale meals, where you have more to cook. You also may find that cooking temperatures need adjusting at different sizes. Be prepared to go off look and taste to determine readiness rather than your trusty recipe.
Cooking for large groups is a great way to show you care and feed the masses. But cooking for large groups can also be a struggle with alot of factors to balance. Consider these three difficulties of cooking for large groups and prepare yourself to overcome them.
Check out this article on the ingredients that are most likely to cause digestive issues!