It’s one thing to coordinate schedules with everyone who is coming, book hotels and make a plan for what you’ll do for the week, but then you’ve got to figure out the food, too. For one thing, you’ve got to menu plan, make grocery checklists, figure out how many chillers you’re going to need, and then there’s the complete business of packing it all, too. Because, let’s face it: when you’re giving food to a crew, and particularly if you have a lot of young people involved, you go through food like crazy.
Makes you tired just thinking about it, doesn’t it?
Whether you’re gathering for a family ski vacation or planning to spend several days at the lake, we can’t take away the huge to-do list that goes down when you’re getting everything ready. But, when it involves food, we can offer some useful tips to get things run a bit more efficiently.
Initially, start keeping track. Make a master checklist of all the food that you buy. Or, if you actually have a list from last year, it will come in ready for this year’s trip. Obtaining a master list allows you to make evaluations at the end of the week. How much did you use, compared to what you bought? What did you run out of too quickly? What were the popular snacks that you liked you had bought twice as much of? What did you bring home (so you know what to cut in half for next year)? Being able to compare what was acquired against what was actually eaten is helpful so you don’t overbuy next year (on the items you didn’t consume), and you’ll know what to acquire more of, too. This is helpful for other convenient items also, such as paper plates, cutlery, paper towels, etc.
Suggestion # 2: Divide up the cooking assignments. As if the monumental job of having all the shopping done and everything packed in coolers wasn’t enough, imagine if you’re the only person cooking all week for a group of 20! Ridiculous, right? That person is guaranteed to get worn out. To circumvent that problem and make the load lighter for everyone, assign a different person to be over food for each night. Whoever is cooking for the night gets to choose what they’ll be making (and can coordinate with whoever is doing the shopping beforehand so their dinner menu items get purchased on the main master list, too). By having everyone take a turn, no one has to put in more than a few hours in the kitchen at dinner time and everyone can help carry the load.
Suggestion #3: Have different folks assigned for cleanup every night. Yup, that’s correct. Different from the person that is assigned to cook, unless the individuals in your group would rather just be assigned one night for cooking and cleaning, all-in-one. Again, managing to take turns and have everyone take an assignment makes the going a little easier for everyone overall.
Suggestion # 4: Get lots of food specifically for snacks. It’s unexpected (a little amazing, really) how much food you can undergo in a week with a lot of people. If you’ve made sure that there is suitable food for the meals but have a few snack items to last for the whole week, you might want to think again, particularly if you’ve got kids along. When folks get hungry, buy ample amounts of a variety of things to have on hand for. This has to be food that isn’t bought for any of the meals; this food is solely for snacks. And frankly, chances are, you’re not heading to be taking much of this home; you’ll be surprised how much of this gets eaten.
Eventually, don’t forget to consider the entire group when planning everything out, particularly where snacks are concerned. You’ll want to buy both treats and healthier selections to fit the preferences of everyone who is going along. While the kids might set sail to that bag of Laffy Taffy like nobody’s business, some of the adults might want hummus and fresh veggies instead. Having options can go a long way to making sure that everyone is delighted when they’re hungry and need something to bite on.
And hey, as soon as the details are squared away, then comes the best part: spending quality time with those you love. We specialize in group transportation, and it’s always cool for us to help families get from place to place when they are delighting in a reunion together. If we can help your family when you get together for enjoyment this year, let us know!