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A hopeless dilemma

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here it is. My husband and I collect toy trains, and a national convention is coming to Sacramento in about 3 weeks. Our house is on a tour to see home layouts. There will be three 30-passenger bus loads of people coming through the house, primarily to see our trains, but train people like food. Since the bus leaves the hotel at 5 pm, they may not have eaten. I’m going to make tons of cookies and freeze them, but I need something besides sweets for them to snack on. They’ll be hitting 6 homes that night so they will only be here a little over 30 minutes, total. When I have a group, I usually make meat balls, two or three dips, nachos, and stromboli if I’m feeling ambitions. But none of those will work because they’ll only have time to grab something from a tray. They might even take stuff with them when they get back on the bus. I was going to have a fruit and cheese tray, until I realized I didn’t have time or refrigerator space to do that. I’m sort of the chair for the convention, and they’ll need me there until about 3 hours ahead of time.

Thanks for reading my long, sad tale, and I’ll be grateful for suggestions (other than to leave town).

Oh - I forgot. Our house isn’t big enough to fit everyone in since it’s full of trains, so they’ll have take turns being outside.
post #2 of 10
Gee, sounds like fun. Well, the model train part does, feeding the masses on limited time doesn't. I get the impression that in this case quantity might trump quality, and you need to keep an eye on both your time and dollar budget.

One idea might be a warm nacho type dip. Browned ground beef, canned cheese soup, jars of salsa, canned diced, mild green chiles all mixed together and kept warm in crockpots or on the stovetop. Lots of chips, and a few dozen tortilas wrapped in foil and warmed in a 250F degree oven, then cut into wedges for dipping.

Some picnic coolers with watermelons on ice, soft drinks as well.

A big bowl of apples and bananas in the house, no fridge space required.

Platters of store bought hot wings crisped up in the oven.

Long party subs from a local sandwich shop.

Pay me thousands of dollars to drive out there with my smoker to do pulled pork sandwiches for everyone ( hey, I couldn't resist! )


There's a few ideas, hope it works out well for you.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #3 of 10
I've done computer work for over a quarter of century, I'm not surprised anymore when they screw up.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #4 of 10
So much to add to this...
We had the National Garden Railways Convention (trains running outside in the back yard) here just this last spring.
We were on the tour, too...
Ginormous number of people (so many, i forget - i'd have to check the figures, but it was well over 600 in 7 hours ...)
Are you having any "self guided" (drive around via map) visitors?
If not, you've got 90 people to deal with.
Key point to keep in mind, it is not your job to feed them dinner...
Another key point = Busses and "wet" food do not mix, at least from the bus operator's point of view.
30 minutes gives your guests just enough time to ask for the bathroom, and take a quick look at the layout.
Think "dry food".
No sauces, dips, or other gooey stuff...
Cookies are nice.
Maybe a bunch of cubed cheese and sausage or sliced meat toothpicked together?
Or maybe some small finger sandwiches...
Storage = "issues"...
Prepare, put in tupperware (or suitable dry container), and put on ice in a igloo cooler.
Or borrow a shelf in neighbor's fridge.
Serve out of a chafing dish with an ice bath.
Consider the cleanup and guest generated mess, too.
They will leave stuff everywhere...
Above all, be kind and hospitable, but make it as easy as possible on yourself...
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
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I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #5 of 10
Small party buns with sliced cheese and sausage, small bags of chips if the budget allows. Could also offer the same with ham or any other meat. A veggie tray sitting on ice would be easy and it is grab and go food. Various snack crackers....... I would keep it simple and as mentioned keep it to non-sauced foods unless yu want people dropping food all over your house :lol:
post #6 of 10
I was thinking finger sandwiches too, something thats spreadable and fast like tuna salad. Decorate with a foiled toothpick that'll also keep them from falling apart. I was thinking Chinese food, been doing nothing but at work for the past few months now, so I was thinking like mini-vegetarian spring rolls, pot stickers, and mini-egg tarts with almond cookies and sesame cookies with some home brew green ice tea in several large pitchers. Most can be purchased frozen and heated up in the oven (though I'd personally do the pot stickers and egg tarts myself, my grandmother make killer pot stickers that I'm close to replicating), the cookies can be found in large jars at most large Chinese supermarkets, the egg tarts can be found at virtually all Chinese bakeries though they're usually the larger kind.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Light at the end of the train tunnel

Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I'm beginning to get a grip. We just got back from Costco with sliced Tillamook and fancy crackers. One of our local farmers grows Heirloom cherry tomatoes that are great, so I'm just going to throw stuff on trays and spend time visiting.

I'm sure the Garden railroaders eat a lot, too. They had their convention in Sacramento a few years back, but since we are O gauge, we didn't go. I would like to go to Long Beach some day.

Now, I'm trying to figure out what to serve to drink. I just realized I don't have room for 14 cartons of lemonade in either refrigerators or coolers. Has anyone tried the powdered mixes?

George Ann
post #8 of 10
Small bottles of water works very well (just a few/six ounces)...

Sam's/Costco should have them by the case for about $6 a case (36 or 48 bottles per case)

Starting to sound like you'll need to borrow some coolers from the neighbors... :)
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #9 of 10
Rental stores and party supply stores usually have 5 gallon drink coolers for rent along with large coffee pots.
post #10 of 10
I know I prefer the cool-aide lemonade over any other store bought lemonade. The packets are small and cheap and you only need water, sugar, and something to mix them in. Some larger drink coolers filled with this (to pour over ice) would probably work well, if you want something other than water.
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