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Thread: Catering Advice!! Help!

  1. #1
    Maniac *Fae*Baby*'s Avatar
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    Default Catering Advice!! Help!

    I need some catering advice, and I thought of all you lovely maniacs for help. I know so many of you have been super resourceful and helpful for other needs and thought some of you could help me out.
    My best-friends father-in-law passed away after a long battle with Emphysema last week, and the funeral is next Friday. Her and Her DH already struggle with finances due to having a baby at a young age and both in debt with school so they decided to cater the funeral reception themselves. We have been brainstorming the cheapest avenue to feed about 75 people. We of course want to supply a well endowed spread but we are stuck at will muffins be cheaper or donuts? do we home make the cookies or buy them. Also we have limited space between our fridges and also a 30 minute drive between said fridges. What I am looking for if anyone can please help with any advice on :
    *Recipes that are suitable for large amounts.
    *cost efficient platters
    *time saving platters
    * ANY idea on what to serve at a funeral
    * What would you do ? bake or buy ?

    I have planned my grandfathers funeral so i have an idea, but my grandmother was able to afford the catering, and at the time i wasn't in the right mind to remember those little details of what was served. Catering is well over 600 dollars which they cant afford right now at all. They have already had to open new lines of credit just to hold the funeral.
    I am going to be helping her with the costs and preparations as much as to my best ability. But i have nooo idea how many eggs to buy for eggsalad sandwiches, or recipes measures for anything.

    HELP ME!!! PLEASE!!

  2. #2
    can be called Betty Cybrokat's Avatar
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    For funerals around here, people like you who knew of the deceased but aren't immediate family bring a dish or 3 to the funeral. Does he have other outside relatives or does you friend and her hubby have other friends that can help out? Typical funeral fare, in my experience, is the same as open house food. Baked beans, potato or pasta salad, ham sandwiches, cake or cookies. Cubes of meat or cheese, veggies.

    IMO, if you have the time, I'd bake. It's more personal, and definitely cheaper. A 9x13 cake will feed about 24 people. So you could do two cakes, like chocolate and carrot, and two types of cookies - chocolate chip and peanut butter - and be done with dessert.

  3. #3
    Maniac *Fae*Baby*'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply its greatly appreciated. I was considering the idea of a potluck sort of deal but I have no idea on how to approach it. I think its the best idea as well, but Its hard to be certain of people actually bringing things, and my friend gets stressed big time, so she will probably turn down the idea. But i will for sure bring it up! I like the cake idea! it can bypass the necessity of other goodies. And who doesnt like cake! Personally I'd be happy if people ate before coming. makes more sense LOL. But I also see the need of it so people can gather and talk with something to occupy them .

    And I am DEFIANTLY going to put pasta salad on the list. Quick cheap and easy!! Thankyou Again!

  4. #4
    Mucho Maniac delmi's Avatar
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    I agree with Cybrocat. A lot easier to supply cold dishes like a meat and cheese tray and non-mayo based salads like pasta salad. It is difficult to serve warm dishes at a gathering where people are showing up at varying times. Another dessert that would help serve a large grp. is an orange dessert. Put orange jello on a cookie sheet, dump in mandarin oranges, let it set, slather Cool Whip on it and sprinkle some crushed walnuts on it and serve.

    Set up some containers: pots, pans, large serving bowls and fill with ice to keep platters cold. Chicken can also be served cold and is low cost for a lot of product.
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    Maniac Goobs's Avatar
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    Well a few suggestions. Make your own everything. Cake is probably cheaper than cookies, plus it's done at once and doesn't require baking in batches. Pasta or bean based dishes are your cheapest options for sides. Simple veggie trays. One thing we did with my MIL's funeral reception was chicken salad croissants. Gordons (or like store) had precooked chicken and large quantities of croissants. And the cost was very reasonable. The rest of the ingredients are very inexpensive. Plus you can make it up ahead of time. We stuffed ours right before the guests arrived, but I also ate some the next day and they were just as good.

    Plus I do have to add that if you can help delegate, do it! Yes, it was my MIL that passed, but I still had my SIL ( MY brother's wife) help me. I was swamped and couldn't do it all, so I picked a person and asked. She had offered to help with whatever she could. People WANT to help. Let them. Makes them feel like they DID something. They're usually wondering what they can do to help.

    Bethany

  6. #6
    founder of Pervs Anon jeant's Avatar
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    Do you have a church that could get involved? A friend of mine passed and our Sunday School class and WMU (women's church group) brought dishes. Nothing real fancy, mostly finger foods-sandwiches, chips, dips, cookies, salsa etc. It went real well and everyone seemed enjoy it. I think the main goal is for people to laugh and share memories of the deceased, I don't think the food is the most important. I would go light, picnic fare, than a meat & three approach. Good luck to you and sorry for the loss.


  7. #7
    Obsessed KJTVH's Avatar
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    I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your friends' loss. In the area I grew up in, like Cybrokat, people tend to bring dishes for a grieving family, so I don't have any experience with needing to cater. Usally there is a friend or neighbor, not a family member, that steps forward and coordinates it all. Along with funeral information behing given out, there's usually a note as to when and where a meal will be held afterward, along with request for potluck and any special food considerations for the family (vegetarian, diabetic, etc.). Always seemed to be a lot of different types of casseroles and food that can be reheated since there is usually a lot left over. I remember once when my aunt died, it was around Thanksgiving and an entire Thanksgiving dinner was provided to our family by neighbors in addition to an after-funeral potluck.

  8. #8
    Maniac
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    Casserole's are also things that are usually cheap to make and easy to make large quantities of to feed lot's of people. Having a couple of those and something like pasta salad (also cheap and easy to make tons of), pita and hummus (also easy to make).

    Here is a link to a bunch of casserole dishes that might help:

    http://www.cookinglight.com/food/rec...0400000001300/

    Also, here is a link that gives recipes for cooking for large groups (I haven't tried any but they look like they could be good):

    http://www.50plusfriends.com/cookboo.../index-5a.html

    My condolences and I hope that things go smoothly.
    Last edited by SidheSaid; 10-14-2010 at 03:19 PM.

  9. #9
    Maniac *Fae*Baby*'s Avatar
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    Thank you so much for all your feedback! It is greatly appreciated and VERY helpful! I feel a bit more confident now on what to do . =)

  10. #10
    Maniac kidlet's Avatar
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    If there is someone that would like to help but doesn't like to cook or prep food see if they would be willing to bring containers to put the left over food in. When my dad died my aunt brought a bunch of containers (like the cool whip tubs with lids) which was a life saver. Instead of trying to balance bowls to bring the food home the containers stack much easier and take up less room.
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