It is with a heavy heart that I must report this will be the last column of the semester. I’d like to take a moment to recount some of what we’ve learned and make a shoutout to my lovely, ever-patient editor Kristin Washagan before I leave you with a “recipe” to make your summer a success.

I’ll start with the shoutout. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the kind of person who thinks they’re really on top of everything. But this belief couldn’t be further from the truth.

Realistically, I’m the kind of person who procrastinates until the last possible moment, only to subsequently suffer through late nights and tiring mornings. True to procrastinating fashion, I rarely started writing these columns until hours before they were due — sometimes even after. I will admit, I always thought about starting my columns days in advance, but I’m easily distractible.

Nevertheless, as a true testament to her character and abilities as an editor, Kristin Washagan always sent me back a smiley face emoji and a “thank you,” after I’m sure she cursed many times about my lateness. To be honest, I do not know much about Kristin. I don’t know what she does, where she’s from, her favorite color or really any basic identifying information. But I have only experienced truly exceptional direction and kindness. For that, I thank you. Opening this shoutout up a little further, I’d like to thank The Badger Herald staff for allowing me to ramble in a slightly more official fashion than yelling on the street.

Moving on, let’s recount some of the things we’ve made this semester:

  1. Penne with Homemade Tomato Sauce
  2. BBQ Ribs
  3. Pan Seared Chicken with Caprese Salad over Arugula
  4. Steamed Fish and Veggies with Risotto
  5. The Wreck’ Breakfast Sandwich
  6. Kebabs
  7. Fettuccini with Cajun-Style Shrimp Béchamel Sauce
  8. Dark Chocolate Mouse with Whipped Cream and Strawberries
  9. Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup
  10. Chicken Caesar Salad
  11. Bruschetta Trio Appetizer

As you can see, there’s really been no method to the madness that is this column. That being said, I have not received any negative comments about anything I presented. In a similar fashion, I have not received anything positive. Send me feedback! I want to know about your experience with this column, whether you read it for fun, for the food or just to be nice to me.

I hope to continue writing this column in future semesters and want to tailor it to what people want to learn about. As much as I like to listen to myself speak, it’s more fun when there’s more than one person speaking.

Cooking Sucks: Impress dinner parties with this ridiculously easy appetizer trioAt the end of the semester, the classic agenda for everyone is to rush to the end, finish exams and Read…

As we head into summer, I encourage you to further your cooking endeavors, hopefully in a more enjoyable fashion without the stresses of school. Try something new. Fail at making something. Cook with those around you. Go to a farmers’ market, buy what looks good and figure out what to make with it. Most importantly, have a wonderful break from school, be safe and store some vitamin D before winter hits again.

For your convenience, and as the final “recipe” of the school year, I’ve included a cheat sheet for your next backyard banger, block party or other similar grilling occasions.

Let’s begin.

The Perfect Picnic

This “recipe” is designed to make your life easy if you find yourself hosting a large BBQ. No one likes to think when executing a large event, so I’ve done the planning for you (round up numbers as applicable). If you follow the specs exactly, you should be able to prepare and execute your BBQ with ease.

That being said, these directions plan on the consumption of a medium to large amount of food — increase or decrease portions as you deem necessary. This plan includes three meats, but the rule of thumb is to include two proteins/veggie burgers for each person.

Ingredients (for any number of people):

Proteins

0.7 burgers per person

0.7 chicken breasts (4 ounces) per person (substitute other cuts as desired)

0.7 hot dogs per person

1 veggie burger for every five people (adjust as needed)

Salt and pepper (as needed)

Buns

1 hamburger bun per burger, chicken breast (if serving BBQ chicken sandwiches), veggie burger

1 hotdog bun per hotdog

Condiments

1.5 ounces ketchup per burger, hotdog, veggie burger

1 ounce mustard per burger, hotdog, veggie burger

2 ounces BBQ sauce per chicken breast (half for grilling, half for serving)

1.5 cheese slices per burger, veggie burger

1 tomato per six people

1 avocado per six people

1 small red onion per six people

1 lettuce head per 10 to 15 people (depends on type and size of lettuce head)

Sides

2.5 ounces coleslaw per person

2.5 ounces potato salad per person

1 family size bag of chips per 12 people

1 slice watermelon per person (1 medium to small watermelon per 15 to 20 people)

1 cookie or ice cream sandwich per person

Drinks

Buy drink mix assuming consumption of 16 ounce beverage per person, less if alcohol is also served

Cutlery

1.5 forks, knives, spoons per person

1.5 plates per person

4 napkins per person

3 cups per person

Directions

In advance of the event, arrange your proteins on a tray for easy grilling. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts before grilling, and be sure they are cooked thoroughly before serving (can be up to 25 minutes depending on the temperature of your grill). Baste the chicken with BBQ sauce while grilling. Grill the chicken on medium-low/medium heat, and everything else on medium-high.

Warm your grill up 45 minutes before you want to serve food (more if using charcoal), and start grilling about 20 minutes (less for burgers, veggie burgers and hotdogs) before you wish to serve food. Place buns in a basket or make them easily accessible to guests.

Cooking Sucks: Satisfying BBQ ribs are even easy for amateur cooksAnother week down, another weekend awash and another week ahead. It never ends, and neither will your need to eat. Read…

Before grilling, slice all produce and arrange on a tray. Keep cold until serving. Prepare condiments in an easy-to-serve manner. This may include portioning ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce in bowls. Slice the watermelon and arrange nicely on a tray. Put the coleslaw, potato salad and chips in bowls.

Arrange the cookies on a tray or keep ice cream cold until needed.

Separate alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks and provide cups, plates, napkins, forks, spoons and knives for guests.

As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions at [email protected].

Have a great summer!

That’s all for now,
Chef Sogs