Baker feed brings thoughts of home
It's not unusual to serve a Thanksgiving dinner for 10, 20 or even 30 people.
But every year, Baker University cooks up enough turkey, complete with all of the trimmings, to feed a few hundred people at its Thanksgiving meal.
This year was no exception.
Darrell Bowersox, food service director at Harter Union, said about 300 people, mostly students, ate the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls and pumpkin pie served in the campus dining center Thursday evening.
"We always try to have a good meal," Bowersox said. "We stick to what we know people will like."
But preparing enough food to serve a few hundred people doesn't just happen in an hour or two.
"It takes quite a little bit of time," Hilda Hargett, cook, said.
The eight turkey breasts, about 80 pounds of turkey, are put in the oven first thing in the morning, at around 6:30, she said, so they will be ready to carve in the afternoon.
The 30 pumpkin pies, which are all topped with dabs of whipped cream, are also made in the morning by baker Karlene Allen.
Hargett said the rest of the food, including several pounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing and a few hundred crescent rolls, is prepared in the afternoon as soon as lunch is finished.
"It really takes a lot of food," she said.
But the food isn't prepared by itself. Bowersox said at least five people work to have the food ready to go by 4:15 p.m., just in enough time for the kitchen staff to eat before dinner is served at 5 p.m.
But the food service staff has had the practice before. He said the dining center has served the traditional holiday meal for many years, as well as Christmas meals before winter break.
Even though the menu doesn't change much from year to year, Bowersox said the students always seem to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal.
"The turkey's good," he said. "It gets everybody starting thinking about going home in a few days."