1923 Tables for Calculating Food Portions for a Large Group

Table showing amount of food needed for church suppers
Source: Order of the Eastern Star Relief Fund Cook Book (Michigan Grand Chapter, 1923-1924, p. 37)

Old community and organization cookbooks provide a wealth of information – and I’m never quite sure what I’ll find when I start leafing through one. For example, I’d never considered how much butter, meat, or coffee was needed when having a large church supper, so it was helpful to find information about the amounts needed of page 37 of a hundred-year-old cookbook published by the Michigan Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star.

I was even more amazed when I flipped to page 81 of the same cookbook and found a table showing the amounts of various foods needed to serve 50 people.

Food needed to serve 50 people.
Source: Order of the Eastern Star Relief Fund Cook Book (Michigan Grand Chapter, 1923-1924, p. 81)

And, I was flabbergasted that some of the recommendations differed across the two pages. For example, for church suppers, a pound of butter will be enough for 48 to 56 servings, so it looks like a pound of butter would be enough for 50 people; but the chart on the amount of food needed for 50 people says that 2 pounds of butter is needed. Similarly, the church supper information says 1 pound of coffee is needed to serve 40 to 50 people, but the other table indicates that 2 pounds are needed to serve 50 people; however, there is some good news.Ā  The information on both pages agree that 1/2 bushel of potatoes are needed to serve 50 people.

10 thoughts on “1923 Tables for Calculating Food Portions for a Large Group

    1. That’s a good point. For Thanksgiving, I just make a lot of food, and figure that I’ll have left overs – but have never tried to figure out how much I actually should make, but maybe I should.

  1. Abort previous comment. I am trying to figure out how to serve ice cream in slices – presumably they would be using an old-fashioned ice cream churner? Or would they have spooned out the churn into a rectangular box and frozen it?

    1. I don’t know, but they may have spooned it into a rectangular pan. I know that I’ve seen images in old cookbooks of loaf-shaped frozen mousses. They may have done something similar with ice cream.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s