Rebeccas blog

General musings

Cooking for friends – my not so secret hobby

I don't see my friends often enough. If I did not invite many of them over at least once a year, I think I would have lost touch with many of them by now. So at least once a year for the past 12+ years I have invited them over to our place. It's a lot of work, but work I can definitely recommend 10/10.

The longest running “event” of this kind, is also my favourite:


I get to cook for 2 days, on the third people come by and eat. Not only do I get to have many of my friends around for a whole day, I also get to cook stuff that takes a long time and is not viable for like 2-4 people.

When I say “I” and it comes to cooking for the foodvaganza: It has for the longest time been two people. Nico and me, with mostly me coming up with complicated stuff to cook, and Nico being a total champ and helping me make it happen. He is awesome! One year he single handedly peeled ~3kg of asparagus. The resulting soup was very yummy. He is also usually the one who on the third day takes care of keeping the operation running by making sure the dishwasher runs like 2-3 times while the guests are there, making sure we always have clean glasses, cups, cutlery – whatever.

The main challenge when cooking food for 30 people is creating a menu which: 1. Does not need to be served super fresh out of the oven or pan 2. Takes into account a variety of diets 3. Is interesting but not weird 4. Does not break the bank

Number 4 used to be especially challenging when I started doing this as a student. Back then the menu was very much driven by: What could I get a box of for 2€ a piece at the market on Paul-Linke-Ufer. 3kg of asparagus, for example. Or a box of avocados, or blueberries, whatever. Making delicious food for your friends is less about budget, more about the work you have time to put in. I reserve 2-3 days to make this food. 1 day for planning/shopping, 2 days for preparation and cooking. In part because some things actually take a long time to make – like a proper ramen broth or bread. But also because making ~10ish or more dishes for 30 people in 1 day is just not feasible if you are not a professional cook.

The logistic of this have certainly gotten easier over the years. Not having to lounge my big backpack to the market any more is definitely nice. (Bringmeister is my friend!) We by now use a KanBan board to track the making of the dishes. Nico is also more involved in picking the ones we make now. :) Our balcony is still our extended fridge for this event. It would not be possible otherwise. We also have a kitchen machine by now, which helps a ton with chopping!

The next foodvaganza is coming up in a few days. I am looking forward to scour my cook books and the internez for what to cook this year very soon... :)