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Serving the cast and crew of Orwell's "1984"--need food for 30

Isolda Nov 9, 2012 10:02 AM

This is a high school drama production, so the cast and crew are all in their teens, with adult director and helpers. Any ideas? It doesn't necessarily have to be theme food, but that would be fun. I just need something I can transport easily because I'll be cooking at home then bringing to school for opening night. (My son asked for Victory Gin, but I don't think that would fly...)

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  1. mamachef RE: Isolda Nov 9, 2012 11:32 AM

    I don't know a teen alive who wouldn't appreciate a taco bar, which you can achieve easily by prepping all the ingredients, putting the meat into a crock-pot to stay warm, and pre-softening the tortillas briefly in a bit of oil and then wrapping well. Everything else can go into big aluminum pans. Sides that go wonderfully are rice; either plain, Mexican-style/spiced, or mixed with cilantro and a hit of lime along with a side of cheesy refried beans or black beans w/ salsa.

    8 Replies
    1. re: mamachef
      Isolda RE: mamachef Nov 9, 2012 12:24 PM

      Brilliant! In our house, we usually mix the meat and the refried beans (to add fiber and to make the tacos easier to fill). Do you think the other kids would accept this?

      1. re: Isolda
        mamachef RE: Isolda Nov 9, 2012 02:21 PM

        Hmmmm. I can totally see your point, but kids are kids, though usually by teenage-dom they've evolved beyond "NO FOODS TOUCHING OTHER FOODS!!" Sometimes though, if the "other food" is visible and intact, it goes over better, as opposed to the refried beans/meat mix. If you go this route, I'd mix in whole pintos or black beans to keep the texture from being anything they could define as "weird" or "mushy." Either that or just keep it on the side, and they can add it to their tacos if they wish, or eat it alongside. Either way, they'll get their fiber, and it'll fill them up as well as the mixture.
        I do like the idea of a "rationed" dessert; as in individual-sized.

        1. re: mamachef
          tcamp RE: mamachef Nov 9, 2012 04:31 PM

          I'd keep them separate.

          1. re: tcamp
            PotatoHouse RE: tcamp Nov 11, 2012 10:26 AM

            So would I, then you don't have issues of either allergies or "But I don't like.....!".

      2. re: mamachef
        iL Divo RE: mamachef Nov 10, 2012 07:24 AM

        I love your idea

        1. re: iL Divo
          iL Divo RE: iL Divo Nov 10, 2012 08:08 AM

          trying to find a post I did years ago but not sure it was on Chowhound.
          may have been on another foodie board, but pretty sure it was here.
          I probably can remember it from memory but all the things that went on the table for you to choose from would be sketchy at best. I posted the items used when someone requested ideas for maybe a baby shower or bridal shower as I recall.

          it was a dump dinner idea involving chicken/rice/crisp noodles/gravy etc all set out buffet style which worked so perfectly for my mom's ladies luncheon at her country club.
          dang, wish I could locate it because it couldn't be easier, it's all set out, you serve yourself and choose the items you want to create your meal the way you like it.

          if anyone is much better than I at researching things on chowhound **because I am not** it was called something like a chicken dump dinner. it'd work here for this group if I could locate my post :(

          1. re: iL Divo
            blue room RE: iL Divo Nov 10, 2012 09:23 AM

            iL Divo, it is mentioned here


            1. re: blue room
              iL Divo RE: blue room Nov 10, 2012 12:19 PM

              thanks BlueRoom

              I see I never did post it.
              that is my bad for sure.
              for my own sake I need to find the family cookbook though.

      3. pinehurst RE: Isolda Nov 9, 2012 11:45 AM

        Ah, so you're the Ministry of Plenty!

        Food was rationed horribly in 1984...it was a means to wage war....so a symbolic gesture you could bring is the chocolate ration as part of dessert. 20 grams is about 4 Hershey kisses per person.

        I like the Taco Bar idea!....you could also do a selection of sandwiches/wraps with good fixins on good bread, vegetarian and classic selections.

        3 Replies
        1. re: pinehurst
          Isolda RE: pinehurst Nov 9, 2012 12:25 PM

          I was tempted just to bring a small ration of food for each person, but I think these kids need to eat!

          1. re: Isolda
            mamachef RE: Isolda Nov 9, 2012 02:21 PM

            Oh, yeah. That they do; especially after giving their talented all for the good of community culture!

          2. re: pinehurst
            pinehurst RE: pinehurst Nov 9, 2012 04:01 PM

            The only menu consideration I'd really have is "are they eating in costume"? As someone who helped my cousin when he was drama director of a local HS many moons ago, spills and rips could bum out the wardrobe people (aka me). If they're in civilian clothes, though, rock on!

          3. blue room RE: Isolda Nov 9, 2012 03:22 PM

            Two thoughts: mamachef always knows what she's talking about (yes!) and
            haha, they couldn't have done delicious Animal Farm?

            1 Reply
            1. re: blue room
              mamachef RE: blue room Nov 9, 2012 04:29 PM

              Nyeah. I just like to make it sound as if I do. :)
              Nice compliment, blue room. Thank you so much!!
              .........though, when it comes to teenage/young adult tastes, maybe I do have an advantage there. 27 Frat boys can't be wrong. At least not all of them, and definitely not about food!!

            2. greygarious RE: Isolda Nov 9, 2012 03:51 PM

              Look at http://foodtimeline.org/fooddecades.h... for menus and newly-introduced foods of the 1980's.

              1. Lotsofscots RE: Isolda Nov 9, 2012 08:24 PM

                I vote for pulled pork...

                1. n
                  Nyleve RE: Isolda Nov 10, 2012 08:47 AM

                  I have cooked for film crews many times. There are a few things that you'll have to take into consideration, besides the obvious transportability issue. With a group of teens, you are very likely to have a percentage of vegetarians/vegans/gluten-frees/etc. You'll absolutely have to provide food that covers all those corners. I've always either made a single main dish that was vegetarian (usually lacto, at least) plus a bunch of sides (salad, dessert, soup) OR I've done two mains - one with meat and the other veg. Sometimes it's easy to make a vegetarian variation on a simple main - like lasagna. Other times you really need to make two entirely different things. I never want the vegetarians to just have to eat around the main.

                  First thing you have to do is actually find out what you're dealing with. If you miraculously have no dietary issues to work around, it would be amazing (and easy). But honestly, not likely. If you do a taco bar, as has been suggested, you'll absolutely have to provide at least one substantial non-meat filling, as well as the other bits.

                  In the past I've done a big pan of arroz con pollo (with a separate pan made entirely vegan with vegetable broth as the liquid and some type of tofu meat sub as the protein); baked mac and cheese (no meat - but watch out for those who can't have dairy or gluten); shepherd's pie (one meat, the other using vegan ground beef substitute); a tamale casserole with a vegetarian base and a cornbread topping; an Indian dinner with a selection of curries, some meat, some veg; soups made with vegetable broth; chili (one meat, one veg) with rice or cornbread and a bunch of toppings.

                  I do have some large-scale recipes, if you're interested. I know you were hoping for thematic food, which none of this happens to be. But when you're feeding young people, you'll have enough complications to deal with already. Just my two cents worth.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Nyleve
                    Isolda RE: Nyleve Nov 10, 2012 10:13 AM

                    Good points. I will make my refried beans vegetarian just in case. There aren't any low carb or gluten-free kids, miraculously enough, but I'm not sure they all eat meat, so I'll leave out the bacon fat from my beans.

                    1. re: Isolda
                      Nyleve RE: Isolda Nov 10, 2012 11:07 AM

                      Good solution. But if you haven't already specifically asked the kids about their dietary weirdnesses, I'd suggest that you do. A lot of them don't like to make a spectacle of themselves and won't volunteer the information unless directly asked about it.

                      Have fun - they will LOVE you!

                      1. re: Isolda
                        PotatoHouse RE: Isolda Nov 11, 2012 10:29 AM

                        I would also offer Black Beans, just in case.

                    2. Antilope RE: Isolda Nov 10, 2012 08:55 AM

                      Mock foods, because in "1984"nothing is as it seems. Mock apple pie, Mock Pecan Pie, etc.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Antilope
                        mamachef RE: Antilope Nov 10, 2012 02:38 PM

                        Mock Pecan Pie? Can you tell me more? Is it anything like the Ritz Mock Apple pie??

                        1. re: mamachef
                          Antilope RE: mamachef Nov 10, 2012 03:14 PM

                          Haven't tried these...

                          Mock Pecan Pie using grape nuts

                          Mock Pecan Pie using oatmeal

                          Mock Pecan Pie using oatmeal

                          Mock Pecan Pie using grape nuts

                          Mock Pecan Pie using pinto beans

                          1. re: Antilope
                            mamachef RE: Antilope Nov 10, 2012 10:05 PM

                            Holy Salad, Antilope!! I have never seen anything like this, and now I'm going to have to try it, one of the Oatmeal versions. I'll let you know how it turns out, if you like.

                            1. re: mamachef
                              greygarious RE: mamachef Nov 11, 2012 12:48 PM

                              My computer's a slowpoke so I did not look at the linked sites but here's a link to a recipe for Oatmeal-Coconut pie that I posted on CH. I made it for a gathering - everyone thought it was pecan pie made with chopped rather than whole nuts.

                            2. re: Antilope
                              Steve Green RE: Antilope Nov 11, 2012 11:17 AM

                              Don't forget the "Mock Baklava" from the side of the box -- IIRC, "split Nabisco Shredded Wheat biscuit, drizzle honey, sprinkle nuts" or something like that.

                        2. v
                          Violatp RE: Isolda Nov 10, 2012 12:26 PM

                          ooh - how about some Victory Gin-Ger Ale?? :-)

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: Violatp
                            mamachef RE: Violatp Nov 10, 2012 02:40 PM

                            That sounds as if it contains alcohol - no school would allow it!! Illegal as can be!!
                            OTOH, if it's just ginger soda? Hey, why not?

                            1. re: mamachef
                              Violatp RE: mamachef Nov 10, 2012 09:32 PM

                              Exactly! You know, just Canada Dry or Schweppes or something (or go fancy artisanal if there's the budget for it!) but call it Victory Gin-Ger Ale. Just a fun play on words. :-)

                              1. re: Violatp
                                mamachef RE: Violatp Nov 10, 2012 10:13 PM

                                Yep yep. I love really gingery pop myself. A friend went Jamaica this year and brought me two six-packs of a fabulous, spicy gingerale. I stingily parcelled them out to myself, treating it like hoarded treasure. :) I so wish I could renenber the brand name, but I was so invested in the my miserly hoarding that I didn't really look at the label. :)

                                1. re: Violatp
                                  Nyleve RE: Violatp Nov 11, 2012 08:15 AM

                                  You're dealing with underage kids - things get very touchy around matters concerning drinking, innocent or not. If I were you, I'd avoid this like the plague. Believe me, I'm no puritan about this. My kids drank at home, well underage, and if their friends wanted to have a beer at our house, we were ok with that. But you're talking about a school environment and you don't know how some psycho parent is going to react when her child comes home laughing about the "gin"-gerale they drank with dinner. There is absolutely no need to wade into that quagmire.

                                2. re: mamachef
                                  Harters RE: mamachef Nov 11, 2012 08:40 AM

                                  Surely ginger ale and ginger beer are non-alcoholic. So, a good way to link to Orwell's "Victory" without running into any under-age alcohol issues.

                                  By the by, the Jamaican one may well have been "Old Jamaica", which is very spicy (perhaps a tad too spicy)

                                  1. re: Harters
                                    Nyleve RE: Harters Nov 11, 2012 08:53 AM

                                    No I knew that, of course. My point is that people can be hyper-sensitive and overly politically correct about anything that seems to even remotely associate young people with drinking culture. All you need is one parent to freak out about a lighthearted play on words that jokingly relates a totally innocent beverage with one that contains alcohol and you have a mess on your hands. I say this because I have seen people go ballistic about all kinds of stupid things and in a school environment you just don't know who you're dealing with.

                                    1. re: Nyleve
                                      hotoynoodle RE: Nyleve Nov 11, 2012 10:43 AM

                                      good grief -- we're talking about ginger ale.

                                      1. re: Nyleve
                                        Harters RE: Nyleve Nov 11, 2012 11:00 AM

                                        I forgot that Americans often have this weird attitude towards alcohol.

                                        1. re: Harters
                                          hotoynoodle RE: Harters Nov 11, 2012 11:12 AM

                                          lol, yeah, sex and guns too, but thankfully those don't come up much around here. :)

                                          1. re: Harters
                                            Nyleve RE: Harters Nov 11, 2012 12:20 PM

                                            I'm not an American. And it's not my attitude. I don't care about the ginger ale part of this. I just think it's unwise to reference an alcoholic beverage - even if only by name - in this context. I don't give a flying hoot what anyone does in the privacy of their own home but I do know that, yes, some people - Americans many of them - have a weird attitude toward alcohol. Drinking age is 21, over there, fercripesake. You can vote, go to war, have 5 children and get married and/or divorced several times by that age.

                                            My comments were only to protect the OP, who is planning to feed a group of young people in the best way possible, from unwarranted attack from the lunatic fringe. You only need one idiot to ruin an otherwise wonderful occasion.

                                          2. re: Nyleve
                                            Isolda RE: Nyleve Nov 12, 2012 04:45 PM

                                            Nyleve, this is not a politically correct school at all. (It's a private Christian school), so I'm fine with Victory Gin-gerale (my son loves Schweppes). Also doing Big Brother's chocolate rations ("no complaining or you'll die like Parsons' uncle").

                                            What you're saying is completely true of the public school we left two years ago! You're right about the lunatic fringe, but I haven't encountered it in our very small and welcoming school!

                                            1. re: Isolda
                                              Nyleve RE: Isolda Nov 12, 2012 07:06 PM

                                              Good to hear. Thanks for saying that. I'm sure you'll have a real hoot doing with this.

                                    2. h
                                      Harters RE: Isolda Nov 11, 2012 03:57 AM

                                      So long as you call it "Victory", anything should fly.

                                      But how about Googling on 1980s food and do something "genuine"? Then spin it that the book became reality?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Harters
                                        Isolda RE: Harters Nov 12, 2012 04:49 PM

                                        Thanks, Harters. I lived thru the 80s (as did you, I'm sure). How much raspberry vinegar can a person eat?

                                        And I think we're living more Aldous Huxley's Brave New World than Orwell's 1984!

                                        1. re: Isolda
                                          Harters RE: Isolda Nov 13, 2012 06:31 AM

                                          Ah, yes, raspberry vinegar. So glad that is now consigned to history. That said, I am getting mighty fed up with balsamic vinegar everywhere these days.

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