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Old 05-27-2006, 09:20 AM   #1
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How do you keep food cold at open house buffet?

We're having an open house for my daughter's graduation in a few weeks and are thinking of serving cold cuts for sandwiches along with pasta salads, fruit, etc.

Any ideas on how to keep these cold as I certainly don't want anyone to get sick. Thanks for any advice (any recipes or ideas for food would be great too )
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:38 AM   #2
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While this may sound silly, it is GREAT...we have a family in our family that loves to have get togethers..what they have built is a box out of a plywood type material..they have a small hole drilled in one end that has a small hose down through it..they have a cute tablecloth that lines the inside of the box and they just throw ice in it and put all their cold dishes in it. As the ice melts, it flows down the hose and keeps the food cold for a long time.

I am not sure if I am explaining it very well....ask if you need any clarification.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:38 AM   #3
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you could rig some type of system where you have the containers of food sitting on something with ice-but it can get tricky and you run the risk of the ice melting and making a mess. i would suggest one of 2 solutions that won't cost much and are easy clean ups. the first would be to call the local rental place and see if they have chafing dishes that are made for this arrangement, the second which would cost around $60.00 (what i paid for everything at walmart) is to buy one of the large roasting pans (electric) that has a large insert for side dishes (mine has a 3 part divided one). if you don't plug in the unit it is fine to put ice in the bottom and use it for cold dishes. the up side to this is you have the item to use for these occasions as well as when you want to use it for hot foods (i use the roasting pan during the year for turkey, chicken and the like-as well as using the insert on holidays for side dishes that can be served buffet style).

the only suggestion i have menu wise is if you are going to do a fruit platter-check with the local grocery store's deli department-when we went shopping yesterday it was less expensive for me to buy a prepackaged container of mixed fruit (watermelon, cantelope, honeydew and pineapple) than i could have bought the produce fresh and done myself.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:39 AM   #4
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Here is what I do in an Open House situation....

I put out small trays for the meat & keep it seperate from the cheese. Deli meats and salads are easy to arrange quickly and/or refill.
I would rather have to refill than waste. Deli meats/cheeses are not cheap.
Also people are more likely to eat your food when they see you pulling it out of a deli bag and arranging it "just for them".

Now with the salads you can put them in a bowl and then have another bowl underneath with ice to keep it cold.
Think smaller bowl and refilling. After a couple of hours wash the bowl and refill.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:52 AM   #5
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I always do the smaller bowl on top of larger bowl filled with ice. I do it with deli trays too. Usually you can fill the lid with ice in a ziploc and put the tray on top of it.

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Old 05-27-2006, 09:55 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone - great ideas! The ziplocks are a great idea for the ice in the bottom!
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