May seems to be a time of celebrations whether it’s for weddings, graduations, recitals, showers or any number of other reasons. Large group gatherings are frequent this time of year and that means cooking for a crowd.

I’m sweating out my own “cooking for a crowd” menu as we speak. Our daughter is graduating from high school in just a few days and a party is on the horizon.

The guest list is longer than first anticipated, and I’m praying our gathering place is big enough to accommodate everyone comfortably. Our overflow refrigerator in the garage that I planned to use for the grad party food died last week, so now I’m trying to figure out how to keep all our cold food cold as I prep it.

How much food prep can I do in advance? How much time should I allow to make the pasta salad? How much pulled pork do I need? How many people will come, but not eat because it’s the fifth graduation party they’ve been to in the past 48 hours? I’m not good at throwing small parties, much less one of this size, so this is proving to be a bit overwhelming!

I am taking a deep breath, making a detailed checklist of all that has to be done and when. Having a visual list will keep me on track and ready for the gathering. It will be fine!

For anyone else hosting large gatherings, I found some tips on how to plan for larger than usual guest numbers when it comes to food quantity:

For pulled pork, figure 1/4 pound of raw pork per person multiplied by .3 (the amount of weight the meat will lose during cooking.)

For pulled chicken breast, plan on 1/4 pound of raw bone-in breast or boneless breast per person multiplied by .25.

For hot dogs, figure two hot dogs per person and add 5 percent.

For hamburgers, figure 1/3 pound ground beef for each burger and 1.25 burgers per person.

For scrambled eggs, figure two eggs per person (with sausage, bread and fruit to round out the meal).

Figure 45 pounds of spiral cut ham to feed 100.

Thirty pounds of taco meat will serve 100. Figure 120 flour tortillas and 80 corn tortillas, 10 pounds of grated cheese and 3 pounds of sour cream in addition to shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.

I hope that the sun shines on any gathering you may be planning and that both the meal and the fellowship are memorable and special.