Jambalaya from Big Food: The Main Event Slideshow

Big Food: The Main Event Slideshow

Flickr/The Marmot

Jambalaya

This dish is full of Cajun flair. Jambalaya is a traditional New Orleans dish that's sometimes referred to as a N ew World paella. The key to a successful jambalaya contains the "trinity": onion, celery, and bell pepper, and the rest is made up of stock and sausage, seafood, or chicken.

Flickr/Metta Matt

Paella

The original rice dish, it originated in Valencia, Spain, where it was and still is, cooked in enormous cast-iron pains to serve a surplus of guests. While there are many versions, three are most common: Valencian paella (which usually includes meat, whether rabbit, chicken, or snails), seafood paella, and mixed paella (a combo of the first two).

Flickr/PeaPodSquadMom

Hoagie

Hero, hoagie, sub, torpedo — whatever they call it in your hometown, it’s just a huge sandwich! There are different stories about how the hoagie got its name, but most agree that it started in or around Philadelphia — which exactly where this 45-ton beast was made.The flavor possibilities are endless and there are classics to try and to be had, so if you’re looking for the ideal sandwich, head here. 

Flickr/Nebulux76

Pasta

Whether you’re Italian and having a Sunday dinner filled with pasta, "gravy," braciole, sausage, and meatballs, or prepping for a marathon, pasta is definitely a reason to gather. Pick a shape, any shape — spaghetti, ziti, cavatelli, linguine, fettuccini, not to mention fusilli, bucatini, and pappardelle!

Flickr/Seanosh

Crawfish Boil

Southern Louisiana is where its at when youre looking for a big feast around the small shellfish. A real fete the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Boil was named one of the top 10 food events in the country by USA Today. A fantastic representation of Cajun cuisine and culture, a boil is usually done in a large pot and fixed with a with a wire strainer perfect for steaming. The crawfish are served spicy they're seasoned with cayenne, hot sauce, salt, lemon juice, and bay leaf. When ready to serve, that newspaper or brown paper better be lining the table because messy isnt even the word to describe what happens next. Eating is a project in itself; crack the fish with your hands or a hammer to fish for the meat and dig into ears of corn, boiled potatoes, and garlic shrimp to escape the fire in your mouth!

Flickr/MikeBurns

Keg

All right its your 21st, or its the big game, or youre just having one of those huge summer bashes and cant be bothered with getting cases upon cases of beer. Three letters: K-E-G. Tap, it stand on it, tip it over theres plenty to go around.

Flickr/TyNigh

Fish Fry

These are very common in both the Midwest and the Northeast; theyre prominent during the summertime and also on Fridays during Lent when Roman Catholics promise to not eat meat. Its best to lay brown paper or newspaper down, as it can become a bit of a messy situation. The fry includes beer-battered fish, french fries, coleslaw, and hushpuppies. With enough tartar sauce, lemon, and malt vinegar to go around, its a bona fide English fish and chip feast for Americans.

Flickr/TheBittenWord

Turkey

This ones a given. If youre into sweet potatoes with marshmallows or whether youre a fan of cranberry sauce with canned or fresh fruit, it doesnt matter, because this bird is the headliner amongst all the other side acts. Want to make a killer turkey, whether its Thanksgiving or not? Head here.

Flickr/MaggieHoffman

Lasagna

Layers upon layers of pasta, stuffed with sauce, ricotta, egg, and meat — unless you’re doing a vegetarian version. The Italian favorite, made for feeding a group, is ideal for a hearty crowd-pleaser and can be made as large and as heavy as 5 tons — just see this record-breaker!

While the origin of the dish is up for debate (many countries, including Greece, Italy, and England lay claims), most of the world is giving the cred to the Italians, where the dish is a family-gathering staple. 

Flickr/Pink Sherbert Photography

Cake

Whether for a wedding, a birthday, or just for dessert, a cake, usually consisting of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter or oil, can feed a crowd, no questions asked. Be it one tier or five tiers, cakes are reflective of the event, the theme, or the person they're celebrating. The cutting of a wedding cake is essential to social occasions in some cultures and is said to have originated in Ancient Rome, where it was a wedding tradition called confarreatio sharing of a cake.

Flickr/George M. Groutas

Spit-Roasted Lamb

This one requires commitment. A Mediterranean staple, especially among Greeks, 4 to 5 pounds of meat should be allotted to each person. Whew, that’s a lot of lamb. Preparing and planning involves building a spit or a pit, seasoning the lamb, and carving it for each guest — there won’t be any time to cook anything else!

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Big Food: The Main Event Slideshow

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