Thursday, July 28, 2005

Camp -2005 - Catch Up Day and Bread Pudding

Thursday is "catch up day" in the Northern California FC Camp kitchen. It allows the cooks to catch our breath and deplete some of the leftovers from the previous four days.

Leftovers are one of the 10 plagues of a poorly managed camp kitchen. Children's appetites vary from day to day and year to year. What's popular this year will flop next year. All camp kitchens -- including well-managed kitchens -- must plan to deal with leftovers.

To use most leftovers, we often reheat them to 165 degrees and place them directly on the serving line. Monday we served the leftover chicken tenders as an extra. And today, the French fries from Tuesday went on the serving line at lunch.

But some products, like 32 slices of French toast made from thick Texas toast, can't be re-heated. No one wants to eat leftover French toast. Nor will my culinary conscience won't allow it. So, I baked a hotel pan of bread pudding this morning for the lunchtime dessert.

Overheard in the dining room: Two young boys, both about 10 years old, were going down the self service line, when they came to the bread pudding. "What's that?" asked the first boy. "I don't know," said the second boy, "but if Steve made it, it's gotta be good!"
The boys were right. We only had three servings leftover!

Other leftovers used today: 30 barbecued chicken quarters, meat pulled, left from Tuesday's dinner, mixed with 2 gallons barbecue sauce and 4 sliced onions to create BBQ chicken sandwiches; grilled cheese and luncheon meat sandwiches (leftover bologna, salami and ham from Monday's lunch); and 12 pints of strawberries were used for a special dessert for the Cabin 1 girls (presented to them by the senior boys in Cabin 9).

Bread pudding, made from leftover French toast, is ready for the oven. Bake the pudding in a water bath as you'd any custard. Place both pans in the oven, them pour hot water into the larger pan to about one-inch up the side of the bread pudding pan.


This recipe yields one 12- by 20- by 4-inch hotel pan. Serve the bread pudding with a #10 scoop. Serves 75.

3 pounds white bread
12 ounces butter, melted
3 dozen eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 ounces vanilla extract
3-3/4 quarts milk
Cinnamon, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste

Cube bread and place in full-sized hotel pan. Drizzle butter over bread cubes. Mix together eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Add milk and mix to combine.

Pour egg mixture over bread cubes. Let stand, refrigerated, 1 hour or longer, so the bread absorbs the eggs mixture. If necessary, push bread down into pan once or twice after mixture has had time to stand.

Sprinkle top with cinnamon and nutmeg. Set pan in larger pan containing about 1-inch of hot water. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour or until set.

Serve warm or cold. Garnish with whipped cream, fruit puree or confectioners sugar.


  1. How do you adjust this recipe to use leftover french toast?

  2. No adjustment needed -- just substituted leftover French taost for the white bread -- slice per slice.