Trying to change

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Madeleine's picture
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We're going around on this one again... Offering a menu instead of cook's choice. The poor cook ends up cooking everything different anyway. At least this way we would know in advance and not at the table.

We don't have room for a buffet and that's not how it's done here in town anyway.

If you do this what's the procedure for getting the guests to give the menu back at night? What kind of selection do you offer? What do you see as the pitfalls and the pluses?

Trying to reduce my stress level...

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I was showing off my brand new, not quite top of the line but way better than I'd had before kitchen and the first comment from on friend was, "Why didn't you get a 6 burner stove?"

 

sigh

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Madeleine's picture
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Well we've talked it over, thought it thru and realized we just do not have the space in our kitchen to do a menu.

If we had a big stove with a full size griddle so dh could cook everything on the griddle instead of having to move back and forth between griddle and stove it might work.

But we only have about 3 feet of usable counter space. So really no space to make this work.

Back to the drawing board.

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Maddy, my kitchen is likely smaller than yours.... I don't think I have 3 feet of counterspace in my kitchen. Look at what I said, as long as you have a microwave to defrost things, a freezer to store things, it should work.

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so, it sounds like, you serve whatever it is you planned for. If they don't like it, they can eat cereal and fruit.angel

Madeleine's picture
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In going to make granola for the gf crowd.

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Thinking of my travels and places I have stayed and recall 1 place that gave a menu for guests.  The menu consisted of 2 choices:

French toast with bacon

or

Eggs, bacon and toast

Jon S, has an excellent idea about cooking special dietary items and keeping them 'on ice' til needed.  In fact, I am going to do just that myself. 

Lesson the stress is good for us ALL. 

 

Madeleine's picture
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I'm going to try to make some things in advance. We'll talk more about this over the next couple of days. Going to go out tomorrow and enjoy a lobster roll.

OMG! Yes! Gluten and seafood! (Ok, not to pick on seafood as that is a killer allergy.) Butter! 

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It's the season... even the footlong people are selling them. Smiling

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We do 18 for breakfast so I don't short order and I never tell them what's for breakfast, my husband tells them he has no idea to stop the "I don't like this" problem.  I do accommodate dietary restrictions as needed but limit what I'll do for them.  I have gluten free bread always so they get the same french toast.  If they say that they don't like cheese and I'm doing a frittata or quiche with it, then they get scrambled eggs.  No dairy, same thing, scrambled eggs.  Keep it simple and I no longer fret that they aren't getting the same thing, they're happy to get something that suits them at all.

I remember on PAII a few years ago a CA bed and breakfast that did a menu - the Bradford Place Inn -- I believe she printed these up on little sheets and gave them to guests at checkin.  The website gives an idea of what they do, perhaps this would work for you.  I don't know how many people you serve each morning, but I can barely deal with the few restrictions and do a great job without having to prepare three different dishes each morning.  Don't forget - some will of course cross out things on your menu that they don't want either so you'll probably still be dealing with changes.  Good luck.

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Like you, we have what we think is a pretty decent line up of breakfast ideas. This morning I mentioned to one table that we were thinking of going all gf and all non dairy because of Dr Oz.

There was a huge gasp from everyone who had just really enjoyed the full gluten, full dairy dish that several people said they couldn't eat.

I said,  "but we decided, no, that doesn't work for us!"

Tomorrow is another full gluten, full dairy day with lots of whipped cream and biscuits.

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Good for you, do what you like and if the guests don't want to eat it, then they can choose not to.  I was surprised a couple weeks back that people were listing all of the yummy things I served this week as stuff they've long ago dropped because of guests -- french toast (not stuffed so I don't worry about dairy), pancakes (just did blueberry ones this morning), tomorrow we're having caramelized onion and provolone cheese quiche (to die for guest favorite), etc. 

One guest who doesn't eat eggs.  He's getting a toasted bagel with a slice of ham and cheese - what he typically eats at home.

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MtnKeeper wrote:

One guest who doesn't eat eggs.  He's getting a toasted bagel with a slice of ham and cheese - what he typically eats at home.

My grandparents just rolled over in their graves... ham on a bagel... blasphemy!

Madeleine's picture
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I just explained, in Italian, what we're having for breakfast tomorrow. "Oh, we don't eat eggs for breakfast." Bang head on wall.

I know Italians like sweets but I didn't know they were real Italians until they got here.

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Madeleine wrote:

I just explained, in Italian, what we're having for breakfast tomorrow. "Oh, we don't eat eggs for breakfast." Bang head on wall.

I know Italians like sweets but I didn't know they were real Italians until they got here.

 

My answer to that would be something like, 'you get to enjoy the taste of America!'

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

I just explained, in Italian, what we're having for breakfast tomorrow. "Oh, we don't eat eggs for breakfast." Bang head on wall.

I know Italians like sweets but I didn't know they were real Italians until they got here.

 

My answer to that would be something like, 'you get to enjoy the taste of America!'

Sorry to say but the European idea of the taste of America is fat and sugar and way too much of both. Most euros do not look forward to breakfast here.

A lot of them just eat cereal. Raisin Bran. And toast. They all seem to like toast and jam. Except, apparently, the English who say toast and jam is not for breakfast. Unless they were just picky eaters. Eye-wink

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Madeleine wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

I just explained, in Italian, what we're having for breakfast tomorrow. "Oh, we don't eat eggs for breakfast." Bang head on wall.

I know Italians like sweets but I didn't know they were real Italians until they got here.

 

My answer to that would be something like, 'you get to enjoy the taste of America!'

Sorry to say but the European idea of the taste of America is fat and sugar and way too much of both. Most euros do not look forward to breakfast here.

A lot of them just eat cereal. Raisin Bran. And toast. They all seem to like toast and jam. Except, apparently, the English who say toast and jam is not for breakfast. Unless they were just picky eaters. Eye-wink

I don't get it. When I travel anywhere in the world, I am offered whatever is typical in that culture! Why are we so fearful of offering an American breakfast? It's part of the travel experience. If they don't like it, then don't eat it! NOT OUR PROBLEM!

I would never go to a foreign country and expect to be served something than what is typically offered.

Madeleine's picture
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I don't change what we offer, I just change the day it's served on. Mostly because I get so damned tired of listening to euros harp on how awful our food is.

If they want a sweet breakfast and we make a sweet breakfast then that's what we serve that day.

It's tough for us because of our layout. I hear every little jibe. And I'm the one they ask for something else. It wears on me even if I say no, sorry, that's what we have today. Or, they rave about how wonderful their local breakfast is compared to what they've had to eat here for 6 weeks. Blah blah blah.

Oh, and, no sympathy here pal that you're on a 6 week vacation eating horrible food! It's not like the whole world doesn't know what the food is here!

Yes, I'm with you. I would not expect someone in another country to make me an 'American' style breakfast.

I just realized I need to clarify that whole rant! We serve the typical American breakfast of pancakes and sausage or eggs and bacon and the like. We don't do organic, free range gourmet. Nor do we say we do. Our photos show our breakfast. So really no excuse for not knowing what you might get served!

 

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The euros get me too. We do a traditional Scottish breakfast (surprisingly?). I get asked for a continental, if you want a continental breakfast go back to the continent!!

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The "breakfasts" (buffet) at the hotel in Paris left me wanting to go get a breakfast. It was so skimpy! I remember a small container of yogurt (and not many of those), some cheese and rolls of some kind. But there was not much of anything considering the number of people. It was so blah/nothing that it is not memorable as anything except WANTING.

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Highlands John wrote:

The euros get me too. We do a traditional Scottish breakfast (surprisingly?). I get asked for a continental, if you want a continental breakfast go back to the continent!!

Thank you for that!

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I'm glad you replied because I wasn't sure how to explain it. 

The Spanish and Italians love a sweet breakfast usually. And telling them to eat breakfast like we do here goes down like a ton of bricks, the same way telling North Americans to eat a Chinese breakfast will go down. But with cereal, muffins, bread and jam, they will figure out something.

I have one jam that I don't put on the table because it's quite bittersweet. I pull it out for the Europeans.

Madeleine's picture
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Yes. I can usually plan a sweet breakfast or at least a sweet starter if I know where they're from. The guests had someone in Canada make their rez so I didn't realize they were really Italian until they walked in not speaking a word of English.

But I can mumble breakfast fairly well in Italian. I've got a list of what we make and I practice it on unsuspecting Romans. Eye-wink

We would have had panna cotta except for the dairy free contingent that day.

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Just put out a jar of Nutella...that should work.

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yes

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Madeleine wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

I just explained, in Italian, what we're having for breakfast tomorrow. "Oh, we don't eat eggs for breakfast." Bang head on wall.

I know Italians like sweets but I didn't know they were real Italians until they got here.

 

My answer to that would be something like, 'you get to enjoy the taste of America!'

Sorry to say but the European idea of the taste of America is fat and sugar and way too much of both. Most euros do not look forward to breakfast here.

A lot of them just eat cereal. Raisin Bran. And toast. They all seem to like toast and jam. Except, apparently, the English who say toast and jam is not for breakfast. Unless they were just picky eaters. Eye-wink

 

I had a British couple who absolutely loved the Thomas' English Muffins we always supply for the picky eater who doesn't like anything else.   They were raving and asked what they were.  I had to laugh and say, well, WE call them 'English' muffins.  

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Stop worrying about everyone individually. People are adaptable. You likely have muffins, bread and cereal on the table already. They will eat. No one will starve. So, they don't have eggs. It's eat the main if you want, otherwise enjoy the damn continental!

I think you are overthinking this. Honestly, here is what I suggest.

1. GF Muffins - make ahead, freeze batter in cupcake paper, ready to bake fresh anytime.

2. GF Frozen Waffles (Van's) - pop in toaster, done. GF, Nut Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Taste Free, Nutrition Free. Artificial Blueberry! Sprinkle icing sugar, drop a few fruits on it or some jam, add some syrup and you are DONE!

3. Buckwheat crepes - Make a stack, fill with fruit, roll blintz style, freeze in wax paper so you can still pull them individually. Defrost in microwave and fry when you need a GF. Mix is 3/4 buckwheat and 1/4 tapioca for elasticity. You can use pie filling if you want, just make sure to add some lemon to cut the sweetness or adulterate, for example adding gingerbread spices to apple, lime to cherry, vanilla to blueberry, etc. If you really want to go wild... ricotta, lemon zest, honey and vanilla is also a good filling. 

4. Oatmeal - Either instant (what they deserve) or make ahead and freeze in individual portions, defrost in microwave if needed. Drop some berries on top, done!

If you are having real Celiacs, consider getting a cheap disposible toaster. You know the $10 job at the store, mark it as GF Celiac and use that for the toaster waffles.

Stop worrying about each person. It's their choice that they are on a crazy diet. Let them smell the good stuff and make due. It's their damn choice! Just have bread, butter and jam around.

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Stop worrying about each person. It's their choice that they are on a crazy diet. Let them smell the good stuff and make due. It's their damn choice! Just have bread, butter and jam around.

My thoughts exactly. With the number of guests Maddie is feeding that is how it should be. Why do we think WE MUST cater to every whim and desire the guests come up with. I am so small that it is not that big a deal as I rarely have a "full-house" anyway. Remember I am in Podunk! For those of you with many rooms - no way!

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gillumhouse wrote:

Stop worrying about each person. It's their choice that they are on a crazy diet. Let them smell the good stuff and make due. It's their damn choice! Just have bread, butter and jam around.

My thoughts too.devil

I see this on your website: "For guests who wish to reserve all of our guest rooms for a family vacation, wedding or other group event, we plan a yummy cold buffet for each morning of your stay.

This can include an assortment of bagels and cream cheese, fresh-baked muffins or breads, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit along with juices, coffee and tea."

If you can to this for a group, why can't you just do this for breakfast daily. Maybe add in an egg dish and be done with it. Will make it so much easier on you I think.

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Because the group is together and they can bump each other around no big deal.

The cold buffet ends up being a real chore. Half the food doesn't get eaten and the other half we never have enough of and it's never the same half!

And I don't like the buffet. Too much waste. Not that I mind eating bagels for a week after!

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Ok then cross that idea off the list. You'll come up with some sort of compromise. We have to lessen your stress...some how Smiling

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I am feeling better. The temp dropped 20 degrees. That always helps.

Altho, with the storm, I was awake jumping out of bed every time the power went out. 4 times last night.

I could definitely feel the pain starting up again. So, yeah, let's reduce my stress somehow.

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Darwinism... how the world deals with people who can't adapt.

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Firstly, we have a max of 6 people, so this probably wont work for most here, but.....

I cook to order from a menu I prepare the night before. This consists of a full scottish, a full scottish vegetarian (which is the same as the full, but with bacon & sausage substituted with veggy sausage and veggy fingers), and two specials.

I have a whole list of specials, some I only do for special guests when it's quiet because they are quite complex to do, like eggs benedict, some are very quick to do like brioche french toast with bacon and maple syrup (I make the brioche in the bread machine, slice it up and keep it in the freezer ready) or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon.

I choose the next days items depending on what I have in stock and the configuration of guests. So if it's a group of 6 I only put simple things on the menu because they'll all come down together, if it's 3 couples the chances are they wont all come down at once so options can be more complex. 

This morning we only had 1 couple in and they were 5 nighters, so I put eggs benedict on becuase it's extra special and tarragon mushrooms on toast topped with poached eggs because I have a large pack of mushrooms in the fridge that will go off soon.

I print the menu the night before on a double sided a4 sheet which I fold length ways and stand on the table. It has the date and the weather forecast on the front.

I didn't just start this overnight, it was much simpler but as confidence and experience has grown I've increased the complexity of what I offer. I have a 7 ring gas hob, which includes a griddle which I have smoking hot in preparation for orders coming into the kitchen for bacon. dh does everything in the breakfast room so I can concentrate on cooking.

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7 ring?! Wowzer!

We'd start it on a quiet week to see how it works. Yes, start with the easy stuff! But we don't do anything really involved anyway.

As long as we get the menus back the night before so all the prep can happen first thing then it should be ok. Dh wouldn't get hit with changes on the fly that way.

You know the space we're working with, it has to be very organized!

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We used to have a 4 ring electric halogen hob, but it was too slow to cook to order. I did it, but it was slow.

We replaced it with this with the express aim that it made cooking to order easier so I could expand the menu. Gas is much faster, the only disadvantage is that the rising heat around the outside of the pans tends to carry cooking fat around the kitchen, so we're always scrubbing parts of the kitchen. This problem is exasperated by the fact that my cooker backs onto the breakfast room wall and if I have the cooker hood extractor on any setting other than low it vibrates terribly through the wall. 

I have a big frying pan (30cm) that goes in the large ring, two smaller pans one I always use for eggs, and standard kitchen saucepan set which  I used depending on the dish.

You can also see my two ring griddle that I cook bacon on, on the left.

I know your space, we're lucky that our kitchen is probably 3 times the size of your cooking space and it's square so we're not always trying to get past each other.

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What brand is that?  I have a friend who owns a B&B in neighboring town.  She has a foreign gas oven that is always hot & ready to go.  There are four doors/compartments each with different temperatures.  There are certain things that she cannot bake simply because her over doesn't work right for it.  It's odd, but people go gaga over it.  

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Kay Nein wrote:

It's odd, but people go gaga over it.  

gaga over AGA (that's a brand name for that kind of stove).

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we have an official AGA shop here - you would have to sell your house to buy one mind!

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Generic's picture
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That's the size of my counterspace and then some!

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I now have stove envy.

 

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Good luck!  Hope it is less stress.  If that doesn't work try some other way until the stress is lifted. 

We are all trying to do WAY more than we should to keep folks happy.  REALLY! 

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What I did was plan my menu, post the menu for the next day and that is what was served.

Now if someone had a food allergy...yes we did ask in advance. And we asked them when we showed them the menu when they checked in. So there was another chance for them.  

I didn't cater to "I don't like it or I don't eat it."  If that was the case they could have juice, fruit, yogurt and cereal.

Cooks choice is just that...

If they don't tell us, then it is their fault not ours.

So what if a buffet is not what's done in your town?  Who made that law?  devil

So to get back to your question...my friend took order for breakfast. He had a set menu and they just checked off what they wanted. Again, you want to keep it simple and you want them to give it to you before they set foot out the door for the day so you can prepare for the morning.

For example:

Juice:  _____OJ   ______ Cranberry  _____ Apple

Fruit Starter: Mixed Fruit or Yogurt Fruit Parfait

Check the fruits you want:  ________strawberries  _______bananas  _______blueberries   _____raspberrie

___ I want yogurt fruit parfait

Meat:

______ Sausage     ______ Bacon  ______ None

Main Course:

_____Scrambled Eggs    ______ Omlet with__________

Bread:

______ Toast   _______ Banana Bread 

Beverage:

_______Coffee Regular     ______Coffee Decaf     ______ Tea    _______Tea Decaf

Madeleine's picture
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Thanks! That's what I was looking for.

You know we ask. We ask at least 3 times. Today we had a no dairy. I asked at check-in so I know by face who the no dairy is. Not a peep. Never said a word about the dairy at check in.

We used to post the menu and I really think the morning round of 'I can't eat that' dropped off a lot when we stopped posting it!

We might give this new thing a go next week.

My big concern is now guests will check everything and then not eat it. Sad

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The Un ion St reet Inn on Nantucket island offers the same 3 meal choices every morning: bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, onion, tomato and capers

Eggs Bene

and another that I can't recall. (Pancakes or FT I think)

They hand out the menu in the morning and you can pick one choice.

They have a fruit station, with yogurt  and muffins as well.

Guests are handed the menu in the morning when they are seated and asked to pick one main item.

This seems to work well for them and certainly cuts down on the variety of ingredients that need to be stocked.

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Sign me up for the bagel!

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Some of the sushi restaurants around town that are AYCE have a fee of $1 per piece not eaten. My friend gladly paid it when he over ordered. Maybe you put that on the bottom? (Please note that a fee of $1 per item uneaten will be charged as a donation to feed the children) or something like that. 

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we gave up on Chefs choice long time ago. What we do is short order - choice of fried eggs any style, or poached, veg omelette (pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes) one day, next day  fried eggs or french toast. Coffee, tea, orange juice, home baked vegan muffins, mixed fruit salad (do not give them a choice of the fruit) and toast - every day.

When I feel like it or have full table and want a fast breakfast - crapes with lightly cooked fruit - whatever I have, with ricotta cheese.

Vegans get tofu scramble with veg (as in omelette) or vegan pancakes.

It works for us, never had complains even with guests staying 7+ day.

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Wish we could do short order. Kitchen is tiny so all prep work has to be done before there are 2 of us in the space.

Plus dh is not good at short order at all. So we really need to know in advance.

But I know what we are doing is no longer working with all of the food issues everyone has.

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