Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lessons From a Week-Long Children's Bible Camp, Part 3

These lessons relate to purchasing produce and salads. From the first year, we've set a salad bar out in the dining room for lunch and dinner. Tossed salad and a choice of dressings are served at each meal. This gave the campers plenty of options, especially those who may not like the entree for a particular meal.

Starting Sunday dinner, I have my salad cook prepare a half-sized 4-inch hotel pan of one extra salad for the meal. She adds one new salad each meal. So by Monday dinner we have the tossed green salad in addition to three other salads.

We serve cucumber and onion, marinated tomato with basil, potato, macaroni and cole slaw salads. You have to watch quantities so that you don't over produce. Remember to tag each salad with the date and time produced so you can track shelflife.

Don't Order Two Cases of Celery

It's not humanly possible to serve that much celery to 120 campers (especially when the chef gags on the stuff). I found that it's best to purchase small amounts of cucumbers, packaged baby carrots, radishes, mushrooms and sweet peppers. If you can't get less than a full case from your produce vendor, purchase small quantities from the local supermarket or farmer's market.

Purchase Bottled Salad Dressings in Small Quantities

I purchased three cases (4/1-gal.) of Ranch, two cases of Thousand Island and one case of creamy Italian. We used five gallons of Ranch, one-gallon of Thousand Island and two of gallons Italian. That's all you need for most kids.

Ranch dressing is your best bet for most campers. In 2003 and 2004, I purchased a case of Ranch, one bottle each of Thousand Island and creamy Italian dressings. At the end of the week, all we had left was partial bottles -- less than one bottle of each type of dressing.

Campers Don't Eat Exotic Salads

By exotic, I mean all salads except tossed green salad and potato salad. Prepare small quantities of salads such as three-bean, cucumber and onion, and marinated tomato for the adults and some older campers.

We used three (4/5-pound bags) cases of mixed salad greens and one case of romaine (24 medium heads) for five lunches and six dinners. Don't over purchase lettuce. You can always run to the market to purchase extra salad materials later in the week. We averaged 10 to 12 pounds of lettuce per day for 120 campers.

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