I had a groovy Thanksgiving that I’d like to tell you about: Some of my friends asked me if I’d like to cook for about 30 people.
What I took on as a challenge turned out to be a great night of eating for over a hundred people. Charlie Auringer, Myron Green, Steve Swainson, Eric Morrice, and Barry Kramer all live and work out of a huge studio loft on Cass which easily accommodated our friends and guests.
The only way I kept my head together was to first work out the whole menu on paper—the usual Thanksgiving fare—and then break it down into who could get what and what had to be bought. We planned two days of shopping, one night at the A&P in Lafayette Park and another day at Eastern Market.
It’s a wonderful feeling to be a freak and get high with a little help from your friends and shop for food and cook for your friends.
Billy Reid brought a clothes basket full of beautiful squashes which I just cut open, put butter and real maple syrup in the cavities, wrapped in tin foil and baked.
I had two ovens and a roaster going all day, but it was nice and everything got done on time.
At one point Charlie came by to help me cut the squash. I had broken a big cook’s knife trying to get them open and we both produced the fact that those crazy Indians and Pilgrims could somehow cut them and we couldn’t. We decided they did it with their tomahawks.
Everyone was pretty frantic and bug eyed Thanksgiving day, remembering last minute things like chairs and forks and cups. Somehow by 9 o’clock we were all shiny faced and pant-suited, greeting our guests with the air of high society.
So anyway, the point of all this is that you too can cook for a large number of people; just plan ahead, get all your shopping done before you even begin to cook, plan enough time so everything gets done before you serve. There is nothing wrong with keeping food warm—it’s better than serving it boiling hot from the stove.
A few people asked me for one recipe from our feast. It’s called Kansas Corn Scallop:
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can cream-style corn
1 small can evaporated milk
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 small onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups coarsely-crushed saltines
1 package (12 oz.) Swiss cheese, diced
Drain liquid from whole corn in cup. Beat eggs slightly in large bowl; stir in corn and 1/2 cup liquid, cream corn, milk, melted butter, salt & pepper. Fold in saltines and cheese. Spoon into 8-cup baking dish. Bake in slow oven (325) 1 hour or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves six.