Feeding Large Groups

Even the pickiest eater will eat Italian food. Pizza, sub sandwiches, spaghetti—who doesn’t love a good Italian meal? Pizza is one meal that is fun to make even for beginners. I give everyone a hand ball sized lump of dough and they have their choice of making it thin or thick, with extra cheese or no sauce, topped with anything they can think of. Kids and adults alike love to make their own pizza.

I taught pizza making to a large cooking class of about 40 people. We made the pizzas together. I set up the classroom with large round tables. Each table had a large lump of dough in the middle of the table. For a large pizza you need a cantaloupe sized lump of dough. We used cookie sheets because we didn’t have enough round pizza stones to feed 40 people!

We made the sauce from garden harvest; tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil, oregano. We bought the cheese, but if we had students that were more advanced we could have made the mozzarella cheese recipe in the Milk section of this cookbook.

We had a sign saying what kind of pizza would be made at each table. All the toppings for that kind of pizza were sliced and ready to use. Garden Veggie Pizza with green peppers and onions. Hawaiian Pizza with ham and pineapple. Italian Pizza with olives and pepperoni. People in the class rolled out their own pizza crust and placed it on the cookie sheet, topped it with sauce and decorated it as a group around the table with the toppings of their choice.

While the pizzas were baking I filmed the video of making Mediterranean Bean Salad for Large Groups. See MyWholeFoodsKitchen.com. This salad is very easy to make in huge quantities simply by using the entire jar of each bean instead of one cup of each cooked bean. Multiply the brine by four and you will have the perfect side dish for pizza and those who are eating light can use this bean salad as a topping for their green salad.

To make this huge endeavor a success we assigned tasks to those who volunteered to help. We determined that each cookie sheet of pizza would feed 10 people. To feed 40 people we would need four pizzas. The recipe we use makes three cantaloupe sized balls. This is enough for a loaf of bread, a batch of bread sticks or a large pizza crust. To have enough for four pizzas we had to make two recipes of bread dough. I assigned the dough-making to two women who brought the dough to class. We needed one cup of sauce per large pizza, so I assigned one woman to make four cups of sauce. She volunteered because she had tomatoes in her garden that were ready to use. I brought her some of my own garden harvest to put into the sauce including basil, oregano, onions and garlic. She made the sauce the day before so that the flavors could develop nicely. Since I wanted to demonstrate how to cook beans in quart jars, I volunteered to bring the cooked beans for the Mediterranean Bean Salad. I assigned another woman the brine for the bean salad. Others brought greens for a green salad from their gardens. Others brought jello salads.

Soup Kitchen
Soup is another meal that might go even farther in an emergency. We store large amounts of chicken bouillon to make soups that will comfort the soul in times of food shortages. The biggest challenge in making large amounts of soup is having a large professional sized kettle. Most of us don’t have one in our usual collection of pots and pans, so if we plan to be able to create a soup kitchen in times of emergency, we have to remember to buy the pot!

If you don’t have a church kitchen with a large space to feed hungry people, you may have to do it outdoors. If so, you will need a shelter and a portable table to work on. This is when you need your portable generator to plug in your grinder, your portable stove, and other appliances. Otherwise you will be back in the dark ages during a power outage emergency. If our utilities shut down for any length of time we would immediately become a third world nation, unable to help others as we would like.

One thoughtful family we know bought a large circus tent for such an occasion and others have purchased generators that run on solar power. Working together, you will not have to purchase all of these items, but can divide the investments over a group of willing and forward-thinking people.

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