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Everything You Need to Know About Food

The 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:

  1. "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 food.

    "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 @)

  2. "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.
And thanks to all in advance for helping; we know we can do a great job!

 


Page updated 28 August, 2014