Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cream Can Dinner

Last night we had some friends over for Cream Can Dinner. We were planning on having friends over for Labor Day but, looking at the forecast, we decided that it was definitely not cook out weather so we decided to cream can. Cream Can, from what I understand is what they do in Wyoming (maybe other places out West too, I just know people from Wyoming) do when they want to feed a bunch of people. Glenn's grandpa owns a bunch of cream cans that he has tinned and he caters meals at various places and lends the cans out for others to use. They are doing a cream can for 80 people this weekend!

I first had Cream Can Dinner back in 1999 when Glenn's grandparents cooked it for our rehearsal dinner. Glenn had told me about the meal of potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, sausage and corn on the cob all cooked together in a cream can and I thought it sounded good but everyone in my family thought it was weird, especially the fact they they were serving it from a wheel barrow that they had brought with them that Grandpa had had tinned. There were some looks of shock ("What is Sonja marrying into??") when they poured the food from the cream cans into the wheel barrow but after the first bite everyone was convinced that it was delicious despite it's strange presentation!

Grandma & Grandpa Reynolds serving at our rehearsal dinner 8/13/99
The kids and I had a Cream Can dinner catered by Glenn's grandparents at the Fine Family Reunion in Iowa this summer but Glenn was not able to be there so this was his first cream can of the year.

Grandpa Earl supervising the dumping of Cream Can #1
Some Fine relatives serving out the 2nd cream can at the reunion as Aunt Billie looks on

Back in 2005 (I think) Grandpa Earl gave us one of his small cream cans (I think it is a 5 gallon one). It is usually a decoration in our living room and we have only used it for dinner a handful of time but after last night I think that we'll use it more often.

Glenn & David serving up cream can last night
 If you'd like a cream can dinner of your own you can probably make it in a big stock pot (if you don't have a spare cream can kicking around). Here's what we did for last night (we made enough for 15 people but only 10 actually ate with us so we have leftovers - yay!).

Scrub and place in the bottom of the cream can in order:
15 potatoes
2 pounds of carrots
1 head of cabbage cut into quarters (we probably could have used 2, the cabbage tastes so good in cream can!)
4 onions cut into quarters (we probably could have used more onion too. You can never have too much onion!)
4 kielbasas cut into chunks

Add 1/2 gallon of water mixed with 1/4 C salt and put the lid on it and let it steam 40 minutes.

Add 15 ears of corn, put the lid back on and let it steam another 15 -20 minutes.

Carefully dump it into bowls to serve from (we don't have a wheel barrow for this purpose so we just used 2 8qt stainless bowls.)

This all fit well in our 5 gallon cream can. To serve more people we'd need a bigger one or there is always the option of cooking the corn in a separate container.

It's corn on the cob season here in New York. I hope we can do this a couple more times before the season is over!

EDITED TO NOTE: After reading my blog Grandpa had a few suggestions:

re: onions:  he has found that if he slices the onions as if you were making onion rings, they "hold together" a little better. I had told him it is difficult to discern what is an onion and what is cabbage leaves. The "rings" still don't hold completely together, but perhaps makes it a little easier to serve
re: cabbage: he cuts cabbage heads into eighths -- and tries to have enough eighths to serve # of people to be served. Sometimes we adjust the cabbage servings depending on who we are serving.  ie., most adults, and especially seniors, want lots of cabbage, where most young people want none!
Thanks for the advice, the cream can and introducing us to this great meal Grandpa Earl!

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