Plates for a once a month dinner - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-03-2008, 01:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I belong to a group that gets together every week. Several years ago we started doing a fund raiser dinner once a month to help pay the rent on the meeting rooms. We usually get around 60 people at the meals.

The woman who started this would just get styrofoam plates from Sams. I want to do a little better but I'm not sure what to do next. We have big sinks at this place but don't have use of the dishwasher. We have a number of trays that get washed and this seems to be just about what our dish washers can handle without getting grumpy.

The pro of this system are enormous. Eating together strengthens our community. We make a little money. People get to practice cooking in larger quantities. But every month we fill two big trash cans with styrofoam.

I thought about using the nicer paper plates. Is that really any better than foam. I got some Earth Shell plates that are made of some plant product and limestone but these were a little fragile. Someone donated a stack of Chinet plates which will defiantly be strong enough but use even more paper.

I suggested this last time that people bring their own plates that they take home and wash. (This is an SCA group where we usually bring our own plates and stuff to medieval style feasts so this wasn't an alien idea to my friends.) Only one family did. i suppose I could do a carrot approach and offer a nickel to anyone who brings their own dish. The foam ones from the grocery store are about 4 cents each and the nicer paper ones are about 6 cents. (They are even cheaper at Sams/Walmart but I have no intention of going there.)

Are there any other ideas for plates. I don't even want to think about the plastic forks and spoons yet. I bring a stack of cloth towels from home for the big clean up at the end. Am I over thinking this. Is this just the sort of occasional thing that make disposable plates okay.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:14 AM
 
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Check into renting plates from a party rental place... it won't cost that much more than disposible, I belive, and it will look a heck of a lot better.

Some places don't even require that they be washed, they pick up and wash themselves.

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Old 06-03-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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Is the dinner an SCA event? Or is it more "open to the public"? For a while our SCA group did trencher breads for event meals... large, flat-ish, loaves of bread used instead of plates/bowls. I don't know if that would work for your group though since you'd need a lot of bread and it would probably be more expensive/messy.

Is there anyone in the group (pelican or "almost there"? someone hoping for an AoA or other service award? squires? Children's minister who could rally the pages? knight, lord, lady, etc who has lost a wager and wants to pay off by doing group service?) who could be encouraging about washing dishes? A one time purchase of ceramic (or heck, even plastic) plates could pay off eventually... IKEA sells inexpensive ceramic sets, and Target currently has plastic "summer" plates for 50 cents each.

Rental sounds like it could be a good option though. Especially if you could get a discount by contracting for a few months at a time.

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Old 06-09-2008, 01:11 PM
 
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Do you have space to store plates, cups etc. That's the biggest problem I've had doing "group dishes". That said the plastic picnic plates don't take up too much room.

Recruit some more dishwashers to cut down the time?

Would anyone be willing to take dishes home and run them through a dishwasher. I would have though if a couple of people could do this each month it wouldn't be too much of a burden. Maybe these people could eat for free or something.

I 've been involved in a couple of groups where we have just done the bring your own plate thing. It takes a few times for people to get in the habit of remembering but we are there now. I just stopped providing the paper ones, people caught on fairly quickly . We usually have a few people who can bring spares for those who forgot.
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:48 PM
 
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Depending on what kind of crowd it is maybe people can just bring their own plates and then take it home to wash themselves.

.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:06 PM
 
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I do a lot of parties as well and I bought from walmart plastic plates that can be reused(4 or 6 for a buck I think). They work great for kids as well...and if they happen to get trashed then you are not out a lot of money (although that defeats the purpose). I know you mentioned not wanting to wash a lot of dishes. What I do when I have a party away from my house, is I take the dishes and then rinse them when done and then take them home and wash them in the dish washer....sure it is a little bit of a hassle but it keeps plates from the landfill.
If I am not in the mood to do this, then I use PAPER plates instead of styrofoam.....it just makes me feel a little bit better. If you are concerned about the sturdiness of them....then you can get those things that hold the paper plates (have no clue the price).


Those are my two suggestions. If you want nicer resusable plates then you can get nice glass ones for a little more than a buck a piece at walmart. These are my plates that I use for my nicer parties.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Masel View Post
I belong to a group that gets together every week. Several years ago we started doing a fund raiser dinner once a month to help pay the rent on the meeting rooms. We usually get around 60 people at the meals.

The woman who started this would just get styrofoam plates from Sams. I want to do a little better but I'm not sure what to do next. We have big sinks at this place but don't have use of the dishwasher. We have a number of trays that get washed and this seems to be just about what our dish washers can handle without getting grumpy.

The pro of this system are enormous. Eating together strengthens our community. We make a little money. People get to practice cooking in larger quantities. But every month we fill two big trash cans with styrofoam.

I thought about using the nicer paper plates. Is that really any better than foam. I got some Earth Shell plates that are made of some plant product and limestone but these were a little fragile. Someone donated a stack of Chinet plates which will defiantly be strong enough but use even more paper.

I suggested this last time that people bring their own plates that they take home and wash. (This is an SCA group where we usually bring our own plates and stuff to medieval style feasts so this wasn't an alien idea to my friends.) Only one family did. i suppose I could do a carrot approach and offer a nickel to anyone who brings their own dish. The foam ones from the grocery store are about 4 cents each and the nicer paper ones are about 6 cents. (They are even cheaper at Sams/Walmart but I have no intention of going there.)

Are there any other ideas for plates. I don't even want to think about the plastic forks and spoons yet. I bring a stack of cloth towels from home for the big clean up at the end. Am I over thinking this. Is this just the sort of occasional thing that make disposable plates okay.
HEY! I know you. I'm for bringing our own plates and taking them back to wash. It's just gonna take me awhile to get in the habit.

WELCOME

:

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Old 06-12-2008, 02:16 AM
 
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I don't know what kind of a kitchen you are using but in a typical commercial kitchen washing 60 plates (and silverware) is really not that big of a job. Can you bring a little portable stereo and make it more enjoyable to be back there? Does the group have any money to pay someone (maybe a young teenager who wants a little spending money) to wash the dishes? My suggestions might be totally silly, as I have no idea about how a SCA group works (although I do think it sounds interesting).

It seems like 60 plates, plus silverware, could be purchased fairly cheaply through a discount store or restaurant supplier, and would probably fit in a Rubbermaid-type tub for storage. And clean-up would be about an extra hour per month. You would be saving a lot of garbage, providing a more comfortable meal (I think most people prefer eating from real plates) and setting a great example about rethinking wasteful habits. It sounds like it could be totally worth it.

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Old 06-12-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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HEY! I know you. I'm for bringing our own plates and taking them back to wash. It's just gonna take me awhile to get in the habit.

WELCOME

:
the only bad thing about bringing your own dishes ....is that unless the other people are likeminded....then they will probably just bring disposable...therefore defeating the purpose.
Just a thought...
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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how about instead of having people bring there own plates, you guys supply them, but have them wash their own dishes....lol.
I do not figure that would go over very well...hehe.


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Old 06-13-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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I went to a church that got a lot of melanine plates from target when they were on clearance. They are really really cute, really really cheap (maybe $.50 each) and they pack really small. They don't break they are light weight and wash up easily. even if you don't wash them there someone can scrape them all off with a spatula and then take them home to wash them. They do ok in a dishwasher . . . ikea maybe has soemthing for cheap.

if you still are thinking disposable though I would get a decent paper plate. i really don't like eating off of styrafoam (sp?).

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Old 07-03-2008, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ellien! Yep. It is me. My screen name is my first and last modern names run together.

Between the donations and a really good sale on some descent paper plates at a local store all of my limited storage space is full. I am going to keep an eye out for reusable light weight plates. There are a couple of restaurant supply places near where I work. I will also continue to encourage folks to bring their own dishes.
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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Do the high school students in your area need to do volunteer work as part of their curriculum? If so, you may be able to call the local high school & ask for volunteers. Usually the students are pretty anxious to get their hours done & jump at opportunities that to not mean a major long term committment.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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