A chop party underway at the 2014 American Federation of Aviculture convention in Portland, Oregon.
Why not? Get a group of fun friends who have parrots. You share the cost, the labor, your resulting product and have fun all at the same time.
I’ve called these Chop Parties. It seems to be a fitting name as you are chopping fresh vegetables for your product. If you are going to host one of these parties, I have a few suggestions for you that will make things a little livelier, a little cleaner and a whole lot easier. I’ve done a Chop party of two and a little prior preparation will make things speedier and more efficient.
First of all ensure everyone has a shopping list. Make the list and divvy up who brings what food items. Make sure everyone knows they are to bring the produce already washed.
As the host, it might behoove you to cook any grains, beans, rices pastas or other cooked items the night before the party. Simply cook what you need, let it cool, bag it up in appropriately sized zip-lock plastic bags and refrigerate until you use it. And don’t forget the zip-lock bags for the individual portions as well as gallon -sized bags so people have those to take their portions home.
There is an advantage to this aside from convenience. When you are mixing the food, the refrigerated items keep the entire mixture cool.
Remind everyone to keep their receipts if you are being precise about sharing the cost.
If you don’t have enough peelers, chef’s knives and cutting boards, remind people to bring their own or bring their favorite if they prefer to use that.
Depending on what kind of food you’re preparing for your parrots, if you plan on employing food processors, having more than one is a good strategy.
Your next plan of action is to prepare the snacks and beverages for the party. I suggest finger foods and little “bites” so people can take a break for a minute and grab a little something to snack on. A fruit tray or crackers with a spread or cheese works well as does hummus and pita. Beer, wine and soft drinks are nice to have on hand for all worker bees.
Preparing the kitchen for the onslaught of pounds of vegetables is key. Lining your countertops with newspaper is great for easy cleanup. Once you’re done, simply roll up the newspapers and toss. Voila’! Clean countertops! You can also put newspaper on the floor and the top of the stove to keep it clean. Also ensure your dishwasher is ready for action during cleanup.
Work stations are key. A small stool or chair to place it on between work stations will cut the movement time. Simply spin around to dump your bowl of cut vegetables in the container on the stool or chair. No bending over! Find appropriate spots for each station which has a cutting board and knife as well as bowls for putting the vegetables in. Arrange for stations that have access to electric outlets for the food processors.
And … Action!
When people arrive, make sure they are comfortable and find a central spot for the produce. Offer snacks, get them a drink, put on some lively music and get chopping. Once produce is chopped and the food is mixed, it’s time to bag.
Newspaper on the floor or on a large table once again cuts down the cleanup. Divide people into scoopers, rollers and baggers. The scoopers scoop the food into the bag, the rollers roll the bag up pressing the air out and sealing the bag and the baggers, mark the large bags with sharpie pens with the date, the name of the food item, the quantity of portions. They then fill the large bags with the small bags and seal those and run them to the refrigerator or cooler until people take them home.
Thanks For Coming!
Once the food is packaged, cleanup will be a snap. Roll up the newspaper, load the dishwasher, tidy the kitchen, put your food in the freezer and you’re done for as long as the food lasts.
These parties can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. It’s up to you to create a festive and fun atmosphere where you can concoct some wonderful fresh food for your flocks and enjoy each other’s company.
Good luck with your Chop Party!