Rule number one in planning a successful family reunion is that everybody must eat. Sounds simple enough, but it is often the biggest challenge in pulling off your annual get together. Some reunion committees plan to do their own cooking, while others find it necessary to use other sources for food such as restaurants, caterers, delis, carry out. Some groups pool their resources and buy food together, others prefer to pay individually. These are all decisions that have to be made based on your groups individual needs.
Decide early on how to best feed your group at the most affordable price. Remember the saying, “A full stomach makes a happy hear” and that is how your attendees will remember your reunion.
Before diving into figuring out how to purchase the food, what to make, who will cook, etc. consider this list of reunion “food” events:
- Meet and Greet
- Cocktail reception
If renting houses, ensure they come with fully equipped kitchens. A block of hotel rooms may end up costing roughly the same as home rentals in destination areas such as the beach or mountains, however, you will have to eat your meals out or have them catered, sometimes a more expensive prospect.
With a full kitchen, all you need to acquire is the food and “chefs” for the week/weekend. I feel purchasing food can be easier than assigning family members to cook. I suggest buying the groceries all at once, then divide costs per family member. Make sure to buy items everybody would eat: milk, cereal, bread, lunch meat, canned soup, etc. For dinners, have a sign up list for a family member to cook one night and be responsible for planning the meal (give grocery list early to be purchased ahead of time), cooking and serving it.This way no one person will be stuck in the kitchen the whole time. One large meal and – voila! – freedom from KP duty for the rest of the week.
Include the children by allowing them to be responsible for desserts, then have the adults vote on the best one!
Need suggestions? Try some of these ideas:
- Seasoned beef and turkey tacos with rice pilaf and a fresh fruit medley.
- Grilled shrimp and chicken kabobs marinated in a honey mustard sauce
- Baked spaghetti with several loaves of garlic bread
- An all-American meal of hot dogs, hamburgers and brats
And don’t forget the desserts!
- Chocolate cake with Raspberries
- Mississippi Mud Pie
- Chocolate Mousse.