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Table for 150, Please . . .

Recently my family had the opportunity to provide a meal for 150 campers and volunteers at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Summer Camp. Our goal was to serve a hot meal and have them ALL eating within 10 minutes of the food being done. While cooking for that many people may be uncommon, what made our meal even more unique was that we cooked it in 10 gallon milk cans. Here’s how we did it.

Each milk can could hold enough food to feed 30 people, so we rounded up 5 milk cans (finding those milk cans was the hardest part of the dinner)! Into each milk can went 1 quart of water, red potatoes, carrots, corn, ham, kielbasa sausage, cabbage, and an onion.

We set the milk cans on propane camp stoves with the lids slightly ajar. The steam from the boiling liquids inside the milk cans cooked the food to perfection in about an hour.

Once the food was cooked, we poured the milk can contents into big washtubs.

We then separated the food into large bowls since it would be served family style. We put cookie sheets over the tops of the bowls to keep the food warm until everyone was seated.

Sixteen members of my family were there to help, so once everyone was seated, we each took a bowl of food to a table along with some rolls. The food was passed around the table so each person could serve themselves.

We left a “washtub full of leftovers” on the kitchen counter—so anyone who wanted more to eat could come and dish out what they wanted.

After everyone had eaten, this was all we had left over. Pretty amazing!!!

This is the second year my family has provided a dinner like this for the MDA Summer Camp. (Things went much smoother this year since we knew what we were doing!) We decided a few years ago to use the money we would have spent on Christmas gifts for each other to purchase the food for the milk can dinner. It’s a tradition we plan to continue for many years.

We were very grateful to have the opportunity to provide a meal for the campers and volunteers at the 2013 MDA Summer Camp and hope it made a difference in their camp experience this year.

Donna G.
Demonstrator Training


  • Lyssa Zwolanek

    Feb 10

    This is awesome, Donna! Good for you. Bet it was super yummy, too!