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Jan 11, 2008 03:24 PM

Do you also cook too much?

Ok, I must be paranoid. Whenever I invite people over I always make too much food. Heck, we eat leftovers for 3 days sometimes or I end up freezing some stuff !
I will give you today's example- I am making dinner tonight for 3 of us plus 3 guests. I will serve 3lbs of pasta with a ton of cream/sausage sauce, a big dish of eggplant parmesan, a bowl of a salad ( a wonderful Martha Stewart inspired salad with pumpkin seed vinegrette and sauteed red onions), roasted and then marinated red peppers, garlic crostinis and a variety of olives.
Now that I look at the amount of food, I start thinking I am crazy. But I also know, I will make too much next time I have somebody over. Does anybody out there have a same problem?

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  1. It was hard for me to adjust. I grew up in a big family. The pasta thing is really hard to get over. I grew up in a home where everyone ate large bowls of it, so the usual box recommendations were never enough. Now that I cook for my family, it's hard to remember that a half pound of uncooked pasta, plus meats and other courses, are more than enough for three. We don't like leftovers, so I have forced myself to judge better. For four people, one pound is quite enough if there are meats and eggplant, trust me. For six, I would splurge and do two pounds, but you can probably get by with less. Three pounds is way over the top -- my grandma would make three pounds for Sunday dinner when there were fifteen of us -- again, because there were plenty of meats and other course. And there were still leftovers.

    I ate at one of Mario Batali's restaurants and enjoyed everything -- but it was a revelation. First courses were salumi and cod, there were roast beets with pistachios, and tiny portions of fish and meat -- smaller than a deck of cards. I was stuffed. Every course was really tiny, but there were something like six of them. That is the trick. If there are lots of courses, you can cut back. If someone doesn't eat the eggplant, there are still plenty of other things to eat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGC1982

      I always make way too much food, my whole family does it, and alot of people where i'm from do that too. Even when i have one friend over i make a big bowl of salad to go with the main dish....and I bake, so if i have one or two friends over, i've got a lot of cake at the end of the evening. !! I'm REALLY bad with pasta...i make enough to sink a ship when i do it for friends. Like you, i add some kind of appetizer or two, bread, salad and dessert. No one leaves my house hungry, lol.

      Co-workers are often i usually bring "special meal" aka really rich leftovers into work and let them have at it .

      But, i don't cook for myself this way, and when i make something that's a big recipe, like a pot of soup or what not, i freeze what i can.

      1. re: RGC1982

        1/2 lb of pasta for 4 people? They must not have any Italian blood in them.

      2. Yes, yes, and yes. I have adjusted my pasta portions -- i.e. for a lb. of pasta, there'd have to be 4 people, especially since you're not having the pasta by itself.

        No, with me there's almost always a huge bowl of salad, of which my man eats about a fifth, and the rest I *have* to finish.

        Somehow, both of us always end up cooking WAY more than necessary for two, and we're not friends of leftovers either...

        Tonight for the first time I made calamari. I figured I'd get a pound for the both of us, and when I had cut the tubes up and stuff, it didn't look like a lot, so my man made fries (along with a very large bowl of salad, of course). Well, the calamari seem to have expanded quite a bit, because we have at least a quarter lb. left, and we are stuffed. Not only do I feel uncomfortably full at the moment, but calamari are also not great reheated...

        1. I'm the same way. I cook way too much, but everyone gets plenty of whatever they like.

          1. In my family there was always, always, too much food. Better too much than too little. But that's not always necessary for two people. Last night I decided to try to make tempura, my first time. I only made a couple dozen shrimps, but I had a whole sweet potato, a whole onion plus almost half of another one, a couple stalks of broccoli, and three carrots. We ate hearty, but only ate a little more than half the veggies (polished off all the shrimps, though).

            1. I agree with revsharkie, too much is better than too little. The few times we have had not enough food, it has been traumatizing.

              You do what you learn. Korean food is best made in large batches because it is so labour intensive. And Korean dinners consist or multiple side dishes. You can't just make a meat dish and a veggie side. So any Korean meal involves large amounts of food, and many different dishes. You are guaranteed to have leftovers. Fortunately, unlike pasta, Korean dishes tend to make very good leftovers. In fact, the banchan (side dishes) are made in quantities to ensure multiple meals worth of food because you would not want to remake each banchan at every meal.

              I wish I could say I only made too much Korean, but no, I make too much food period, regardless of cuisine. I think we are all crazy! But it is a pretty common problem!