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You Need to Know About Food
following description was written by Lynne deBenedette
for the 2006 New England Convention held in Rhode Island,
but it's an excellent guide for anyone bringing food...
Given that this is Rhode
Island's first opportunity to host the New England Convention,
it's likely we'll have good attendance, and we need to be ready
to feed people well. Below are some FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about
food--and some answers:
And thanks to all in
advance for helping; we know we can do a great job!
- "I want
to bring food. What's best to bring?"
If you have been to all-day singings before (like the Western Mass
Convention, for example) you will have noticed that what
gets eaten at singings is NOT the salads and raw vegetables, but CASSEROLES and
other hi-carb things. You work up a big appetite singing, and by
lunchtime people are ready for food that sticks to the ribs. Any kind
of casserole dishes (or cooked vegetable dishes that come in casserole pans) work
well, whether meat or veggie. Desserts are also (of course) appreciated. And
we should have at least one more major meat dish--like a ham, or roast
turkey; if anyone is in the mood to do one of those things, can
you let us know?
"I want to help out, and I like to cook, but I don't
have a lot of money."
There are lots of things you can do--you can get in touch with
one of us, and we can get you some ingredients. And of course
you can help out at the singing carrying food in and helping
the food committee chair with setup and cleanup!
"I'm cooking. How much should I make?"
LARGER amounts are best--it's not too hard to double
most recipes. Think of yourself as cooking for a bunch
of really really hungry people who haven't eaten in hours and
hours and have been doing heavy physical labor for two days.
Anything you can bring is appreciated, of course, but it's
really important that we do a good job feeding all the
people who are coming.
"What else is needed?"
The food committee chair is the best person to ask about particular
needs for a given singing. In addition to main/side dishes and
desserts, we need drinks (juice, water, soda). The food committee
chair can give you more precise info. The food committee will take
care of bringing cups, plates, etc.
"What if I'm bringing food that needs to
be served hot?"
Believe it or not, if you follow these instructions you don't need
to worry about reheating something at the singing. It's best to
heat your dishes right before you leave and pack hot food well
(see below) so that you don't need to heat it up again; if you
pack your dishes well they should be fine w/o heating.
If the food crew has to spend the whole morning heating everyone's
food up, they won't get to sing at all, and even good
kitchen facilities would be hard pressed to manage all that
"How do I pack my dishes so they'll stay hot?"
Bake or reheat the dish right before you leave the house for the singing--so
that you're literally walking out the door right after you
take it out of the oven; have ready a cardboard box or other
container just slightly larger than the dish (if you're making
several dishes, what works well is one of those boxes with
a lid that they sell at Staples--you can stack dishes in
the box with a cooling rack in between them). A styrofoam
or other kind of cooler also works, obviously, and
I've seen even canvas tote bags insulated with towels and
bunched-up newspaper work well. Pack the dish into the container,
surrounding it with either newspaper or rolled up dishtowels
as insulation. Close the container tightly and head off to the
singing. The food stays nice and warm, and you don't need to worry
about getting it heated up at the singing.
"What if I have questions?"
Contact the head of the food committee. In 2006 this is Lynne
deBenedette: lynne_debenedette -at- brown.edu (replace the -at- with @)
- "What if
we run out of food?"
NOOOO! Failure is not an option. We would have
to hang our heads in shame, and that would be VERY
BAD--those who are coming to sing with us are our
guests, and it's important we feed them well. We did
a great job at our first singing. We just need to keep up
the good work.
10 February, 2016