There are 5 camp counselors, so I'm cooking for 6; my spouse is out teaching every weeknight or it would be 7. I usually have enough ingredients on hand to cook for 2-4 people--6 is a different matter.
Four college age kids, along with a high school counselor in training, and not one is vegetarian or vegan—what is wrong with the youth of today? Just kidding, of course—in a way, it makes it easier to cook for a big group.
One of the counselors can't eat pork and is lactose intolerant. I don't usually cook much with pork (or with much meat). But it's interesting to think about all the desserts I usually make and how much they depend on dairy.
On Monday, we had chicken poblano mole, with a black bean and corn salad, and tortillas and tortilla chips. Tonight we’ll have pasta with a variety of toppings: last night I made a tomato sauce, and marinated veggies with mushrooms and without (one counselor looked a bit queasy when I asked if everyone was O.K. with mushrooms). I overbought mushrooms, so I’ll make a mushroom and olive oil sauté. Or they could just top it with grated parmesan romano cheese mix—except for the one who is lactose intolerant. My spouse made meatballs, which I added to the homemade tomato sauce last night.
We will have leftovers, because I would rather have too much than not enough. It makes planning for lunches and suppers when we're not hosting the counselors much easier.
We were told that we could give the counselors money so that they could eat out. But I figured that I'd need to give each one twenty dollars--I can cook for 5 a lot cheaper than $100.
Of course, I'm lucky. I know how to cook, and I know how to cook for a crowd. I know how to economize--but even if I didn't, cooking at home for 6 is cheaper than sending 5 kids out for dinner.
Now, to plan for dessert: leftover brownies made with vegetable oil or make an olive oil citrus cake? Stay tuned!