My husband and I had so much fun hosting a spring break team breakfast last year that we decided to make it an annual tradition. This year our team consists of 25 athletes, and last year it consisted of 45, so this was much easier to manage. Last year, we scheduled four shifts of about 12 people each, but this year we had nice enough weather to put some chairs outside and host everyone at once. (Of course, the smaller group helped too.)
We live in what might be considered a food desert in many ways, so to find the best variety and best deals would require driving at least 30 miles. We opted to buy what was available locally to save gas and time although it also meant spending more on the food bill. We also selected some pre-prepared items in order to save time (such as shredded cheese and pre-sliced fruit). Last year, we spent less and got more for our money (about $2.15 per person), but this year was pricier. Last year we also purchased all of the necessary disposable utensils, plates, etc. This year we only needed more cups.
Here’s a breakdown of our bill this year:
- 48 oz. maple syrup $3.98
- 5 lb. pancake mix $4.99
- 45 oz. spreadable butter $3.49
- 26 oz. whipped cream $5.58
- 2 fruit platters $23.98
- 6 lbs. bacon $18.98
- 10 lbs. sausage $10.78
- 16 oz. salsa $2.49
- 17 oz. Sriracha $2.79
- 12 oz. Chalula $4.69
- 16 oz. shredded cheese $3.98
- 1 gallon 2% milk $3.29
- 2 gallons chocolate milk $8.58
- 2 gallons orange juice $5.58
- 7 dozen eggs $12.38
- 3 lbs. clementines $4.99
- 36 oz. blueberries $11.98
- 28 oz. strawberries $3.00
- 48 cups $1.98
- TOTAL = $137.67
- Per person total = $4.75 (includes players, coaching staff, a recruit, me, and my in-laws)
All the eggs and pancakes were eaten. Most of the remaining items are things we can save for future use or will eat on our own. About half of the fruit was eaten, less than half of the cheese and condiments were used, and most of the beverages were consumed. A few pieces of sausage and bacon remained. (Confession: the remaining bacon was 10 strips I intentionally left uncooked because 1. we will eat them, and 2. I ran out of time.)
Here is how we structured our morning for a 10 a.m. breakfast:
- 7 a.m. – Wake up, make coffee, and eat a small breakfast.
- 7:30 a.m. – Arrange furniture and tidy the house.
- 8 a.m. – Put sausage in over and begin frying bacon. (I could only fry 5 strips at a time.)
- 8:45 a.m. – Turn off oven, and convert it to a warming area. Begin cooking pancakes. (Bacon still in process.)
- 9:20 a.m. – Begin scrambling eggs. (Bacon and pancakes still in process.)
- 9:45 a.m. – Take fruit, toppings, condiments, etc. out of refrigerator to arrange on table.
- 10 a.m. – Team arrives. Take warmed items out of oven. Get out of the way while players fill their plates.
- 10:20 a.m. – Make more eggs and pancakes.
- 10:40 a.m. – Breathe.
- 11 a.m. – Players leave to get ready for a day of practice. Begin cleaning.
- 11:30 a.m. – Done cleaning. (This includes all dishes washed, dried, and put away.)
I’d consider that an extremely smooth and successful morning.
Things that made this year easier than last year:
- 10 a.m. start time. Last year, the first shift arrived at 9 a.m., and three more followed at 45-minute increments.
- A smaller team. Duh.
- Nice weather to allow for outdoor seating.
Things that went better last year:
- Shifts helped take off the pressure of having enough food prepared at one time.
- Counter space. It was difficult to prepare with limited space (see photos), and even more difficult to serve. Last year we had significantly more space. (And at the time, I thought that was small!)
But we have managed it successfully twice now. I firmly believe anything can be done if this can be done.
The tradition will continue.