All Aboard Harvest | Laura: Cooking for a crowd
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Laura: Cooking for a crowd

Laura: Cooking for a crowd

South Central Montana – It is not often that our crew is all together cutting in the same field. When I’m on the road, I’m usually with half of the crew. Depending on the day and equipment line-up, that could be 4-7 extra mouths to feed in addition to my family. In Montana, we were all together, so I was feeding 13 adults and two kids when we were in the field. Some crews are larger, some are smaller, but no matter whether you are cooking for 1 or 30+, it’s a job! I’m not always on the road, but if I am, and the guys are harvesting full days, I try to help in this area.

With two small children underfoot, cooking is no small task. Especially in a tiny camper kitchen with limited counter and cooking/baking space. I’ve had to get creative with what I can make and how I do it. My tiny stove and oven don’t cut it, so I don’t even go there anymore. Armed with a large electric skillet, crockpot, and two Instant Pots, I do the best I can to make something the crew wouldn’t make on their own. They are excellent grillers when I’m away, on their off days or evenings they aren’t cutting, so I avoid those types of meals. The other difficult part is making something that I can haul in the back of my “mom mobile”, and usually a long way. Its rare that one of my fields is under 30 minutes and sometimes closer to 45-50 one way. I wouldn’t win any ribbons for presentation at the county fair, but it is made, assembled, or picked up with love and best intentions!

Let’s be honest. I cut corners. I have to with limited refrigerator space, prep area and big crowds. I willingly use bagged salads, pre-cooked breads, a frozen pie or two, occasional carry out, etc., when necessary. Some gals are magicians and have way more tricks up their sleeves and patience for their camper ovens and grills, but this works for my situation. Homemade is best but fed it good too! If I would feed it to myself and family, I feel fine about feeding it to my crew. Its about finding a system that works for your unique situation while staying sane doing it!

High Plains Harvesting 2018
Sometimes it makes sense to prep or partially prep boxes ahead of time.  Sometimes I serve everything at the field.  (Photo by Laura)

High Plains Harvesting 2018
On this day, there were 13 adult boxes going to the field. Not pictures are the two mini-harvesters’ plates. I had fourteen adults one day when I offered to dish up some for the harvest support team member. (Photo by Laura)

High Plains Harvesting 2018
On the menu today, spaghetti! (Photo by Laura)

High Plains Harvesting 2018
Sometimes we eat with the guys in the field too! (Photo by Laura)

High Plains Harvesting 2018
Truck driver, Leigh, eats a quick bite before the next load. (Photo by Laura)

High Plains Harvesting 2018The guys have been eating in waves so some machines are always in the field.  (Photo by Laura)

High Plains Harvesting 2018Supper time is also a time for some laughs!

 

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

6 Comments
  • Tom Anderson
    Posted at 19:19h, 21 August

    I’ll bet your a darn good cook. Takes a lot of planning to feed that crew.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 09:16h, 25 August

      I guess you could ask the crew, or maybe don’t! Ha! Yes, it takes a lot of planning to make it happen! 🙂

  • Tom Stegmeier
    Posted at 20:17h, 22 August

    Super Job Laura !! Lady A & Little Man have grown and then some ,You have the crew meals tapped out!! An easy meal perogies & sausage with sour cream for the perogies & put the sausages on the grill, plus some sauerkraut for a side. A good Ukrainian harvest meal , I can still taste this with the smell of Harvest!

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 09:15h, 25 August

      Thanks for the suggestion, Tom! I will have to keep that in mind for something different!

  • Marius Swart
    Posted at 10:44h, 23 August

    Some of us would be lucky to get that kind of meal at home, never mind in the field 😉

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 09:15h, 25 August

      Thanks, Marius!