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cooking for a crowd
by Yee-Fan Sun |
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y cousin Christina once complained that all our family does when we get together is eat. Personally, this is one of the things I've always loved best about my dad's extended family's get-togethers, but then again, unlike my cousin, I've never had the discipline to exercise and diet my way to an enviable size two, only to find myself faced with eager aunts pushing piles of irresistible homemade treats. Yes, we come from a family of very enthusiastic food lovers: when my dad's rather large family gets together, we love talking about food, we love eating food. And as we kids have grown up, spoiled by our moms' fabulous meals, many of us cousins have become pretty serious about cooking food as well. So when it came time to plan meals at our latest family reunion, it made sense to assign my generation with food duties for an evening. For the first time in Sun family reunion history, the kids would be doing the planning and the cooking and the serving.

By now, I've thrown enough dinner parties that I know how to plan a basic sit-down meal; I've hosted enough parties that I can deal with the stress of producing sufficient nibbles for a horde. But working with my cousins to prep a proper multi-course dinner affair for thirty or so serious food lovers? Yes, I have to admit, I had more than a few moments of panic -- that the four pans of lasagna I somehow found myself in charge of co-producing wouldn't yield enough (in fact, it was way overkill), that there was no chance dinner would be even close to ready at the intended 7pm start time (and ours is not a patient family), that the beautiful red tomatoes I inadvertently sliced the wrong way (gasp!) would ruin my cousin Jack's Caprese salad (he was very nice about at least trying to hide his horror that the tomato slices were all missing their middles). In the end, though, the kitchen chaos proved to be kind of a blast, the meal a definite success.

Cooking for a crowd isn't for the faint of heart, but with a little planning and plenty of help, it can be heaps of fun. Thinking about planning a feast for twenty, thirty, fifty, more? Check out these tips on feeding the multitudes…

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