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Vacation Recap: 5 Tips for Feeding A Big Group with No Effort

I was out of town last week, on the New Jersey shore with my extended family and without decent internet access. Now that I'm back, though, I want to share some of the things I learned; we had more than a dozen mouths to feed each night, so there was never a shortage of teachable moments, as they say.

My older brother, who has five children, rallied one night and took charge of the grill. Another night, I threw in the towel and went out for pizza with my relatively tiny brood. The rest of the time, we ate at home, and here's what I discovered.

  1. If you want to feed a big group many meals, bring a big piece of ham; that's my mother's old trick. You'll get dinners and lunches out of it for days.
  2. If you want to feed a big group one delicious meal, make a slow-roasted pork shoulder (a.k.a. pernil); you can't go wrong (I figured out my mistake from last spring--just cook it to 165 or so and it will be succulent). It should last for days, too, but there was something about the one I roasted that compelled my brother eat all the leftovers the very night I made it.
  3. If you want to feed a big group cheaply, grill chicken legs and thighs. I seasoned mine with thyme and salt and pepper, and served them with a salad of arugula and romaine, and loaves of French bread.
  4. If you want to make great French toast, use lousy bread. The not-safe-for-foodies supermarket baguette made super tasty French toast the next day. I sliced the stale loaf thinly, and made little medallions of delight for the kids.
  5. If you want an even more sure-fire way to make children happy, buy them donuts every morning.


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