When you’re taking on a project like making Macaroni and Cheese for 100, you better have a friend to help you.
Angel and I were organizing the food for a huge community carnival this past weekend and things were going well. On the menu: Hmong Egg Rolls, Enchiladas with Rice and Beans and Inari Sushi, all prepared by different ethnic groups in our area. Then, we heard the Mac and Cheese makers couldn’t do it this year. Since the kids love homemade macaroni and cheese, we decided we’d take on the challenge ourselves.
Because our schedules were hard to match up, Angel and I decided to separately each cook a batch for 50 people. But I’ve found that even when I’m not actually cooking with someone, it helps enormously to still have a “virtual” partner to exchange ideas and give each other advice. We chose a recipe and talked by phone about where we’d get ingredients. When I cooked a day earlier, I e-mailed how I’d altered the recipe a bit and how many pans I used. We each had our kids “taste test” our batches.
When we arrived at the carnival, we shared a prep kitchen with all the other cooks. At one time, there must have been at least ten people in the kitchen–egg rolls frying on top of the stove, macaroni and cheese warming up in the oven, other dishes being readied on the counters.
How did it go? I measure the success based on the little boy who came back for thirds of our Mac and Cheese, and by the fact that we sold every last delicious bit.
Mac and Cheese for A Crowd
Makes 100 Servings
8 lbs. elbow macaroni
8 lbs. cheddar cheese, shredded for sauce
1 1/2 lbs. margarine (trans fat-free)
3 cups flour
2 gallons whole milk, minus six cups
8 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
7 lbs cheddar cheese, shredded (for topping–use more or less depending on how cheesy you want the top to be)
Cook macaroni until slightly firm. Drain and set aside in baking pans. In a large pot, melt margarine and add flour, salt, pepper and milk. Stir until smooth. Add cheese for sauce, stirring until well-blended. Pour sauce over macaroni, and mix gently. Sprinkle cheese topping over each dish. Bake for about one hour at 350 degrees, or until hot and bubbly and slightly browned on top.