160 Pieces of Chicken

On Friday, I went in to G.’s school to help cook for that night’s school-wide family dinner. I actually didn’t do much cooking, just prep work — skimming the fat off the top of four vats of chicken soup, slicing eggplant, lining enormous baking pans with foil, and so on. It’s fun being in that huge commercial kitchen — everything is stainless steel and you never seem to run out of room.

In addition to the 160 pieces of barbecue-sauced chicken you see above, there were also plenty of chicken nuggets, pigs in blankets, and this:

Yes, that’s 8 lbs. of tater tots, times two. We also made 12 eggplants-worth of chatzilim, an Israeli eggplant salad:

The school’s director uses one medium onion per large eggplant. Slice and fry the eggplants and onions until soft and golden, then drain well. Mix with tomato paste, salt, and pepper, then throw everything back on the stove to cook down for another 30 minutes or so. It is delicious! Here are the eggplant frying, along with three of the five huge ovens in this kitchen:

With all that oven space we were able to make enough rosemary-roasted potatoes for the group:

And we baked twice this amount of challah, the dough of which had been mixed and then shaped by the kids and teachers:

Just like with my morning of latke-cooking last month, it is no surprise I smelled like oil for the rest of the day. Thankfully there was another mom there who was able to chop all the onions without a problem, because I’d forgotten to bring my goggles.

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