When people find out the number of children we have, asking about how I cook for them all is inevitably the first thing they want to know about. I guess routinely cooking for 13 - 15 people is on the same level as having a super power in the minds of some people. My standard response is that it's not really than impressive a feat; more a matter of practice than anything else. I started out cooking for just two when J. and I first got married and then we slowly added a child one (or two) at a time. Adding enough for for one extra person isn't that difficult. It's a skill you slowly learn and adjust to. Of course there are also those times when you realize that the size of your cookware is insufficient, so you have to upgrade, but that doesn't happen for a while.
I guess we do go through a lot of food, but since that's my normal, I don't think about it. For instance, if you're curious, it took us exactly four days for 13 people to eat 6 dozen hard-boiled eggs. And some people were a little upset that all the hard-boiled eggs from Easter were gone yesterday at lunch. I also made some breakfast food yesterday afternoon... something I had been meaning to do for quite some time. I made some granola, which filled four half sheet baking pans when it was ready to put in the oven and made 64 servings of various instant oatmeal flavors. All of this might last a week or so, depending on how hungry the swarms of locusts are and how soon the novelty of having these much enjoyed breakfast foods lasts.
So you see, the biggest issue facing the cook of a large family is price per person when everything is made. It's easier on the budget when there at least a couple of meals during the week when price per person is less than a dollar each. With that in mind, I thought I'd share one of the cheapest meals I make... and it tastes good and is easy as well. What's not to like?
White Bean Soup - serves a lot, though I often double it
1 lb white beans, any variety (if you are using beans in bulk, 1 lb beans = 2-1/2 c.
1 qt. water
1 qt. beef broth (I use bouillon)
3 cloves garlic, chopped (or more, I use a lot)
some parsley (I don't have an amount, I just sprinkle it in, maybe a couple of tablespoons?)
Put everything in a crock pot and stir together. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. And you're done! Serve with some good bread and a salad.