I got some questions this weekend on how I learned to cook for a crowd. For me, it is simple - I was raised that way. Being raised in many different countries, I picked up different ideas and learned to play with food. I was asked for a recipe, and I laughed! I don't think I have used a recipe for a main dish in years. Desserts, perhaps, but food? No.
I think the time I was most stumped about cooking was when I was a teen. We were back in the US for a season, and I used to babysit. I would often cook dinner for the kids I babysat. One afternoon, the mom was having a frantic day. She had some appointments and events, and then that evening she was supposed to bring a cake to a Bible study. She asked if I would mind cooking a cake for her.
She handed me a box, and then hurriedly grabbed her keys and walked out the door.
I was absolutely bewildered. Confused. Totally taken off guard by a cake mix. I had no idea what to do with it. A foreign concept. Turn a box into a cake?!
It took me a few minutes before I was even brave enough to read the instructions and gingerly begin. I could have whipped two different types of cake off by memory at that point in my life, but a box confused me!
I remember that confusion now and laugh. I have made some boxed cakes since then, but still prefer to make my own, just as I prefer to cook a meal without packaged ingredients. It has made living in different places simpler for me - the fact that I was raised not to be used to things you buy in a package. Home to me tastes like things I can make, not something I buy in a store.
I've love trying new dishes, new flavors from different parts of the world, and mixing them. I love cooking now. I am not, nor will ever be, and have no desire to attempt to be a fancy cook. I like to cook food that fills people up, that warms bellies, that satisfies. If you are wanting a beautifully displayed table with fancily cut vegetables, look elsewhere. That is not me.
Got any good favorites you cook for a crowd where you are? I'm always interested in trying new things.