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What would your back-up plan be?

We're preparing to have a large cookout this weekend and have sent out quite a few invitations. As is regretfully the case these days we haven't had many RSVPs yet. People just don't seem to RSVP anymore...even when the invite specifically requests it. (Where are your manners, people?) This makes it a little difficult to plan how much food to make. We're serving salmon and pork on the grill so I don't want to overshoot by too much lest we spend a lot of money and have a ton of food left over if people don't show up.

So my question to you is this: Should I just plan for full attendance and cook the associated number of portions or undercut, hope that not everyone shows up and have a few nice locally-made brats in the fridge in case we run out of the pork and salmon.

What would you do?

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  1. Brats seems like a good call.
    I, being a nice Jewish girl, would have a ton of food anyway and could easily feed twice the number of people coming... but that's just me.
    Maybe make some grilled veggies or something that can easily be a leftover the next day if you have too much?

    11 Replies
    1. re: laurendlewis

      LOL, nice jewish girl here too and I'd over cook as well.

      However, I also would start making some phonecalls. It would drive me out of my mind not to know how many people to expect. Yes, rude of them not to RSVP however, I'd rather make the calls than wind up with an empty house.

      1. re: sivyaleah

        I should say we HAVE had several RSVPs...but I would say only 50% of the total invitees have responded in some way. So we know there will be at least 30 people. It's the remaining 30 we're wondering about.

        I suppose I could just lay in several more pork tenderloins and freeze them uncooked if we see that the non-responders aren't showing up. Can you freeze marinated meat?

        1. re: HungryLetsEat

          You can freeze marinated meat, but it could be "mushy" on thawing esp. if the marinade includes vinegar.

          1. re: LJS

            No vinegar. Just soy sauce, dijon mustard, lime juice, garlic, ginger and EVOO. Keepin' it simple.

            1. re: HungryLetsEat

              I'd leave out the mustard and lime juice for the ones you might freeze, both are acidic and could "mushify" your food. My suggestion would be to make a marinade with the remaining ingredients and use it on the extra meat you may or may not need. Keep them in the fridge and if it does turn out that you do need just them add the mustard and lime juice and let them sit for 30 minutes to absorb those flavors.

          2. re: HungryLetsEat

            I've frozen marinated meat with good results (beef stew).

            1. re: HungryLetsEat

              Or cook them and send people home w/doggie bags. At my MIL's 85th b-day party, we catered it instead of me cooking (just way too many people) and had so much food left over, that we sent everyone home with nice packages. Good thing we saved all those round, plastic Chinese food divided containers :-) And we still had plenty to freeze for ourselves!

            2. re: sivyaleah

              Apparently being a nice Jewish girl is not far off from being a nice Southern girl when it comes to food. After every party I host, it looks like I could still feed a small village. At Thanksgiving, the number of pies is in the double digits. Even when I try to make less food, I get this compulsion to make "just one more side dish".

              1. re: Honey Bee

                Knowing my Memphis mother-in-law, I don't doubt it!

                But comparing Jewish & non-Jewish weddings/etc, Jewish caterers always bring more food.

                1. re: Honey Bee

                  I was going to post the same thing. I was raised to believe you would rather cut your own throat than run out of food. My 71 year old Mother is COMPELLED to keep cooking stuff. She complains about how tiring Christmas dinner , etc. is on old bones, but she still finishes waht she had planned and then starts making more.

                  1. re: Honey Bee

                    We're Chinese, and my mom always made too much food. I, on the other hand, HATE having food leftover. When I have people over, it's usually really close friends and they overstay (like I invite them to lunch and they are still here at midnight and hungry), so I do run out of food. If my husband had it his way, we would never run out of food either.

              2. Perfectly acceptable to call the 50% that have not RSVP'ed. Just tell them you are finalizing the menu and was hoping they could join you. stay as far away from "we have not heard from you" type lead-ins. Serving for 30 is daunting enough and with the range of 30-60, you better bet a better feel of the task at hand. Remember at a BBQ adding another cup of water to the chicken soup when unexpecteds arrive ain't always an option.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  I agree - I'd start doing some emailing/phoning.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    ditto on the start calling

                    and now that I am older, and crabbier, I would not be over cooking.

                2. Another nice Jewish girl who would over-cook, too. I couldn't live with the guilt that someone came to my house and couldn't eat what they wanted to. Whether this is normal or not, I don't know, but so it is. I'd feel awful if a guest was watching others eat salmon, and could have none for him/herself...

                  You can freeze the marinated meat, it shouldn't be a problem. Alternately, maybe you want to go with chicken instead? That way you can cook the whole lot of it and make chicken salad the next day, if need be.

                  1. Like the above 'nice Jewish girls', although I am not a Jewish girl, I too tend to make an over abundance of food.

                    If you've invited sixty and you know thirty are coming I would plan on a generous amount of food for forty five and enjoy your party.

                    1. The RSVP thing is a major pet peeve of mine. What is wrong with people? But that's a whole other topic.

                      I would call them. I am one of those (Jewish girls) who would would have too much food no matter what, but there's a big difference between 30 and 60. Even if you get a few responses, it will help with the planning.

                      And maybe it's me, but I would be completely annoyed at someone who didn't rsvp and then just showed up.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: valerie

                        I know - but those of us who would RSVP to another's party would also expect RSVPs for our own party.
                        These are probably the same people who are stingy and would want to take home a doggie bag after coming without RSVP-ing!