HELP! First time burner cooking for 30 people!

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HELP! First time burner cooking for 30 people!

Postby iamaarti » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:51 pm

hello lovelies...

this is my first burning man, and i am a bit anxious because i (with two other people) am responsible for keeping 30 or so people fed and happy the entire week-10 days.

i know there's a TON of posts on dry ice, and i am making my way through them, but i haven't been able to find the answer to the question of "insulation" -- when my husband went last year, he said a sage man told him to cover the dry ice with plastic sheeting. does anyone know what this means? the past two years, for some reason, my husband & co. have not been able to keep the dry ice solid for more than 2 or 3 days, despite covering it in newspaper and duct-taping it and trying to keep people from opening it more than once a day. what are your insulation tactics?

any suggestions?

also, what veggies stand up well? a number of our camp requested "fresh veggies"... so beyond carrots and frozen peas, what else can i feed them?

a very humble and needy thankyou in advance...

-x-
aarti
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:59 pm

I always stock up on Cap'n Crunch, with Crunch Berries!

But as for coolers... get GOOD coolers. One tactic is to plan out your rations and put food for later in the week in a separate cooler that doesn't get opened all the time. Some people even tape them shut.

I don't think you have to worry though, because ice is available. You can make an ice restocking run as often as you need. Bring a wagon or a bike with a decent sized rack and it'll be way easier.
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Postby Barbie » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:19 pm

It is very very Very hard to worry about cooking things on PLAYA...


The Dust the heat finding a place to prepre things-


Soooooo what I do Is pre cook and freeze almost EVERYTHING-


That way you can just take out of cooler and heat up OR even that the sun heat it-

Check out the playa recipes thread- Lots of Ideas for diffrent dishes that work on the Playa-

Also 30 people are NEVER EVER gonna All want to eat at the same time on the PLAYA...

Ya know how most camping trips are all abot what Your gonna eat next or prepare next- its not that way at the burn- lots more to do than thinkin' about food... Also people don't tend to eat as much in the heat...

I also freeze my water bottles and use them for keeping cooler cold- then you don't have to worry about food drowing in WATER-

Prepare (peel cut dice slice skin)
any fresh veggies before you go 'cause then you don't want to have to worry about the parts you don't eat
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Postby phil » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:24 pm

2 or 3 days of dry ice is as long as it lasts for me.

I'd suggest doing some dry runs before you go. Here's Chef Juke's suggestion:
http://www.cieux.com/bm/foodPlaya.html
(follow the link to the jet-powered beer cooler while you're at it)

I have to say it didn't work for me, but I'm no Chef Juke. As Cap'n Goddammit said, assume you'll be able to get ice from the ice store on the playa and don't sweat the dry ice. There have been long lines, but I think they're spreading the locations out so there are more but shorter lines.

If this is your first year, I'd also suggest a couple of practice meals while you're home using all the same gear you'll have on the playa, including clean up. No running water, no water heater, just your camp stove and pots and whatever.
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Postby iamaarti » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:30 am

thankyou guys so mcuh! i am going to digest all your tips in the morning. thankyou thankyou!
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Postby hunter S » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:20 am

Two kitchens! one for the cook....one for poeple who want to make a sandwich! I cook for 40 people & the whole thing run's smooth until......a bunch of drunk campmates roll in at 4:oo in the morning for a snack!
I set up a seprate area for the stoned snackers! It keeps them out of my Ice chest's and I don't have to clean the kitchen before breakfast!

Why do drunk burners always want bacon ???


footnote: camp cook has to be the A..hole to keep the food from spoiling.
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Postby iamaarti » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:06 am

Hunter...

what kinds of snacks do you leave out for people?
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Why do drunk burners always want bacon ???

Postby oheric! » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:12 am

"Why do drunk burners always want bacon ?"

Because it is delicious.
I am drunk right now and it is all that I can think about.

mmmmm.... bacon.
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Postby Boijoy » Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:44 pm

WHO the HECK makes a virgin burner the camp cook?? THAT IS NOT A FRIEND MY DEAR,, NO FRIEND ATALL !!
I say, pasta every meal.. serve the bastards right !! >:-(
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Postby Barbie » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:07 pm

MeatLoaf in a baggie is the BEST thing to leave out for DRUNK BURNERS...
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Postby hunter S » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:38 pm

Imarrty, I leave sandwich fixins, chips, porkrinds, carrots (few veg's in my group) COOKIES!!

I do cook exstra bacon & bag it up for BLT's.
Bread won't hold in the heat so flour tortias & english muffins.

Pre cook everything, six food ice chests four I have put locks on!
I also give each camper a plastic dish with a lid, put their name on it, they miss dinner it goes in their dish & in a seprate Ice chest. If they don't wash their dish...not my problem! next meal goes in it dirty or on top if they didn't eat.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:54 pm

Cheese Whiz (or EZ Cheese)... it's one of nature's perfect foods. Especially well-suited to the playa; requires no refrigeration, comes in a dust-proof aerosol can, and is delicious on crackers, fingers, etc.
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Postby robotland » Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:17 am

Perhaps one of those automated deer bait feeders, filled with Cheerios?

I've taken to making BIG batches of jerky before the burn...although it's wasteful, splitting it up into many small bags keeps it fresher overall and you can just bust one bag open and empty it instead of worrying about the dust. Keep in the cooler, but UP OUT OF THE WATER!!! You can NEVER trust ziplocks 100%, and you REALLY don't want week-old meat water in your cooler.
*shudder*
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Postby Free2B » Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:27 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Cheese Whiz (or EZ Cheese)... it's one of nature's perfect foods. Especially well-suited to the playa; requires no refrigeration, comes in a dust-proof aerosol can, and is delicious on crackers, fingers, etc.


I know I need cheese with me ( it's the main reason I got a little cooler) did you mean those wip-cream type cans but w/chedar?
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Postby Simon of the Playa » Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:35 pm

i highly recommend this product as it is Both Vegetarian, AND Kosher....



Image[/quote]"Why do drunk burners always want bacon ?"

Because it is delicious. [quote][/quote]
HOLY FUCKING SHIT, IT'S AUGUST!!!



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A gift for the Playa

THIS YEARS POSTERS

2015 posters
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Postby hunter S » Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:54 am

Kitchen tip's: If your building a kitchen is say...a carport.
Every dust storm will cover your beautiful better homes & Playa kitchen, steps I take: all pot's & pans are stored upside down then covered with a tarp. The hardest thing to do IMOP is having to de-dust every time I need to do my cooking. Garbage bags can be used as dust proofing for kitchen supply's then reused for garbage.
Dish washing is easyer with a spray bottle (mix dishsoap & water) then a bus tray or bucket for hot rinse. Bring real dish towles more than you think you will need! cleaning an out door kitchen is dusty work on the playa. always close up your camp stove & cover. Plastic containers with lids help for food storage, but will still be invaded with dust. Sheet plastic the floor, then carpet! It will help protect the playa & end up being the second dirtiest thing you take off the playa, plan on tossing the kitchen carpet so being able to roll the whole thing up in the sheet plastic makes it easy. Plan to do any cooking in the heat of the day, I serve the big meals at 4:00 pm, this gives everyone time for evening prep & cocktails, the cook needs to party too! Have more than one light source in the kitchen! camp lanterns are good but scrambling for a new fuel cylinder in the dark is a bitch! and on that note ...same for all stoves! "Brinkman" ovens are a great playa kitchen asset, many of my pre-made casaroles are done in disposable aluminum pans with lids (the kind that catering places use) they fit right in the oven & stack well in ice chest's.


Simon: tofu bacon is just evil!
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Postby Magpie » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:19 pm

Boijoy wrote:WHO the HECK makes a virgin burner the camp cook?? THAT IS NOT A FRIEND MY DEAR,, NO FRIEND ATALL !!
I say, pasta every meal.. serve the bastards right !! >:-(


I was a virgin last year and was volunteered to cook for our new theme camp of ten! I was so nervous but things went well. Here's what worked:

Cooking all meals ahead and freezing in single servings in ziploks or seal-a-meal. I did both to see which worked better. It was pretty much the same so this year I'm using ziploks. they are easier. I use the quart size freezer bags because the sandwich size is a little light duty in my opinion. Take out the days meals in the morning to thaw and most of my campmates didn't bother heating them up.

Freezing take-out Thai in tupperware! We forgot these were in the freezer until later in the week and it was a nice surprise. The saucier dishes freeze better.

Mixed nuts. Get the good ones that you like for sure and mix your own.

We ate a LOT less bread than I purchased and just ate a lot less in general.

Pack the frozen food for the second half of the week in a cooler with PLENTy of dry ice and seal it up with tape to keep the drunk stoners out. Open it only when you have to.

Don't forget to bring the camp stove :-( And if you forget something essential, ask around! There was a camp right next door that had lots of extra fuel if I'd only asked. We ended up heating things up in the RV, but that was hot and not convenient.

Here is my meal list as it stands now. things will be added for sure, but even with just what's here we'd eat well.

Metropolis Menu

Stuff that needs to be heated up

Bratwurst
Tacos
Quesadillas
Chili
Precooked meals from TJ’s
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Chicken/sundried tomato pasta
Jerusalem Chicken
Red prawn curry

Stuff that’s ready to eat as-is

Cous Cous
Boursin cheese spreads
Cheese
Crackers
Olives
Artichoke hearts
pepperoncini
Salami
Honeydew melon chunks (frozen)
Oranges
Frozen grapes (omg so good)
Otter pops
Frozen chocolate pudding snacks
Frozen fruit cups
Sardines in mustard sauce
Smoked salmon & cream cheese
Easy cheez
Apples & PB
Dried fruit
Mixed nuts
Canned soup
Shrimp cocktail
Dolmas

Breakfast-y Stuff

Corned beef and eggs
Cereal and milk
Instant oatmeal
Fruits
Blueberry Pancakes and bacon w/ syrup

Beverages
Coffee
Gatorade
Zipp fizz










[/u]
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Postby AntiM » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:26 pm

Free2B wrote:
Captain Goddammit wrote:Cheese Whiz (or EZ Cheese)... it's one of nature's perfect foods. Especially well-suited to the playa; requires no refrigeration, comes in a dust-proof aerosol can, and is delicious on crackers, fingers, etc.


I know I need cheese with me ( it's the main reason I got a little cooler) did you mean those wip-cream type cans but w/chedar?


Yes! They're not all that bad for you if you read the ingredients, and come in flavors. We liked American cheez on chocolate oreo cookies with bacon. I'm not kidding. I couldn't possibly eat such a thing off playa, but it was heaven mid-week when I needed the salt/sugar/fat boost.
we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
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Postby some seeing eye » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:32 pm

Plan out with your food team 10 main meals, even on a preplanned day. For instance Wednesday is Italian day. Put all the ingredients together for that and keep the stoners away. Seriously. Then have the camp bring all the complementary items on that evening, like red wine, maybe do something with costumes. It makes the meals special and gives people a chance to be creative. Early dinner is good, it gets dark early. Campers clean up while the cooks rest. Fresh vegies late in the week are best brought by late arrivers.

Mesh bags, like 50# onion bags are good for drying out kitchen waste in the wind before it goes in the plastic bag. A (little) less stinky. Get them free from your produce department.
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less is more

Postby jpstiffin » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:33 am

a. Let them do their own cooking.
b. potatoes and sweet potatoes - sweet corn.
c. peppers
d. hominy
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Postby dinks » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:36 am

Cleanup is a huge issue and pretty much dictates what we bring for food. One greasy pan or grill + a dust storm is not a pretty site. Here is what I am planning on bring this year for food.

Pre-cook a ton of bacon, seal it up and bring it in a cooler.
Egg beaters in a carton (no shells to deal with)
Batter blaster pancake mix
Large jar of PB
Large bottle of grape jelly
Loaf of bread
Bagels
aidells sausages (pre-cooked).
Salt-n-vinegar chips
5 gallons of bloody mary mix. (just cause)
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Postby portaplaya » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:30 am

Pickled vegetables give you 80% of the fresh vegetable needs for burners, without the pesky need for chilling. You can home can, buy from store, or just make immediately before you leave.

Pickled items should last a week without refrigeration after home-making/opening can.
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Postby PottyMouth » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:07 pm

I just want to say that anyone who is willing to cook for 30 people at the burn is God like- and I want to say thank you!

Good luck and have fun!
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Postby LostinReno » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:22 pm

some seeing eye wrote:Mesh bags, like 50# onion bags are good for drying out kitchen waste in the wind before it goes in the plastic bag. A (little) less stinky. Get them free from your produce department.


I will totally keep this in mind. We had a bad experience with a cantelope rind last year. Never knew cantelope could smell that bad (we threw it in the hefty bag :x )
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Postby TomServo » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:40 pm

Place your cooler on bricks. Keep it off the ground. If you have the time, and money, you can take the bus into Empire for $20...for fresh meats, veggies, etc...
anything worth doing is worth overdoing..
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Postby Mojojita » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:53 pm

Send me your email and I will send you my menu and packing/shopping spreadsheets.
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Postby some seeing eye » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:38 pm

What I was getting at is that the later in the week it is the harder it is to think and be a kitchen creative like at home. So planning and packing each meal's ingredients ahead helps with Playa brain.

The AEZ kids have been experimenting with small scale cleanup free cooking. They use "ovenable roasting bags" with the food inside a black teflon pot with a clear lid, or sitting on a solar oven. They are good to 400F, though probably not the healthiest (heating things in plastic). No cookware cleaning.
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Postby Magpie » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:08 pm

Some additional thoughts:

Make other people do ice runs. You are going to be busy enough.

Set up a schedule for other campmates doing clean-up. You shouldn't be doing this either!

Regarding dry ice evaporating after three days; use more in each cooler. Wrap in many thicknesses of brown paper. Paper grocery bags work well, then tape the hell out of it. Tape the cooler shut and trust the ice to be ok. Don't open the end of week cooler. DONT OPEN IT!!!!! :-) I did this and I still had some dry ice after 7 days and the food packets were still partially frozen.

Get a couple more people on your crew.
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Postby ZenoBoy » Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:18 pm

Putting your coolers up on bricks helps a lot. The desert floor is not your friend for keeping food cold.

Another thing that works is to wrap each cooler in Reflectix. You can find it at Lowe's. It's mylar bubble insulation. I had two coolers last year, wrapped them both. One was the deep freeze cooler with 50lbs of dry ice. We arrived on Monday and Saturday morning we had finally lost all of the dry ice but everything was still frozen.

If you are going to use dry ice, make sure no liquid gets anywhere near the ice otherwise you will have a great fog party but nothing to keep your food frozen.

I wrapped all the dry ice in paper grocery bags and then taped them up with just a small hole for venting. I put 30lbs of ice on the bottom of the cooler and 20lbs on top of all the food. Worked great.
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Postby Peacebandchick » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:35 pm

ZenoBoy wrote:Putting your coolers up on bricks helps a lot. The desert floor is not your friend for keeping food cold.

Another thing that works is to wrap each cooler in Reflectix. You can find it at Lowe's. It's mylar bubble insulation. I had two coolers last year, wrapped them both. One was the deep freeze cooler with 50lbs of dry ice. We arrived on Monday and Saturday morning we had finally lost all of the dry ice but everything was still frozen.



How did you attach the Reflectix? I've been pondering this for the last few days while staring at this roll of Reflectix sitting in my living room and my cooler.
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