Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Weekend Wrap Up

What a weekend! Could I have crammed any more activitiy into a 48 hour time period if I tried? It started of with a going away party for my friends Susan and Michael Walsh. Michael is a General in the Army and he is being deployed to Iraq. While he is away, Susan moved to Virginia to be closer to her sons that are attending college there. She will be teaching the 6th grade when school begins in a couple of weeks.

The party was held in the home of Mark and Charlotte Cagle. I can't believe that a home of this grandeur is anywhere in this city- much less, only a couple of miles from my house! I've been admiring this house ever since it was first built a couple of years ago. I drive by it every day and always wish I could get inside to look around. Little did I know that my friends lived in that house and I could've gone to visit anytime over the past couple of years.

Anyway, the going away party was decorated with a patriotic theme, in Michael and Susan's honor. Everything was decorated in red, white and blue. Even the front porch was festooned with patriotic banners and streamers. The neighbors must've thought we were a little late in celebrating July 4th! It was a great mix of friends and we all got to tell the Walshes goodbye and relive some memories with them. It will be sad to see them go, but hopefully we'll see them again soon.

Last night was the "Butterflies and Biscuits" baby shower that I catered. It was a supper for 75 people. I was truly worried about how it would turn out, since I was cooking all of the food in the small kitchen of the Providence Club House in Mabelton, GA. Luckily my friend, Wayne, came to the shower with me and helped me transport all of the food, because it never would've fit into my little car, and our delivery van was already reserved for another purpose. So, Wayne & I carried all of the food into the club house and then he left me alone in the little kitchen- staring wild-eyed at the array of food that needed to be cooked or heated. The party was set to begin at 5pm. However, at 4:45pm, I was still in my shorts and T-shirt- covered in flour and grease (from the fried chicken); my car was still parked in front of the clubhouse with the trunk open. I had 15 minutes to move my car, change clothes and stock the buffet table. My body just went into automatic pilot and by 5pm everything was ready for the guests to arrive; and I was dressed in my black chef coat and black slacks. For the next 3 hours, everything went like clockwork. I served:

* Fieldgreen Spring Mix Salad with Mandarin oranges and Granny Smith apple slices, topped with cashews and pecans and served with creamy Poppyseed dressing
* Fried Green Tomatoes, with cashew jalapeno relish and goat cheese
* Our award-winning Creamy Dreamy Grits- made with white cheddar and cream cheese
* Southern Potato Salad with Sweet Vidalia onions
* Buttermilk Fried chicken
* Our signature Biscuits- 9 dozen! All of varying sizes-- some huge, and some bite-sized.
* Veggie Strata- a quiche made with spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomoatoes and mozzarella cheese
* Southern Strata- another quiche made with oven-roasted potatoes, turkey bacon, collard greens, carmalized onions and cheddar cheese

I don't want to give the wrong impression- I didn't do this all on my own. I have a wonderful prep team that got everything ready for me and all I had to do was pop it in the oven to cook it, or re-heat it. Still, no easy task to cook/heat that much food in a small home-style oven. But I pulled it off- none of the dishes on the buffet table ever came close to being empty- I constantly restocked everything throughout the party. The party hosts and guest all raved about the food. Most of them said that they'd never been to the Flying Biscuit before, but they plan on visiting soon to taste the rest of the menu. Overall, it was a successful party, both from a catering perspective, but a marketing perspective too.
Like I said before, I had my doubts and I spent a few sleepless nights wondering how in the hell I could pull this off, and what was I thinking when I accepted this job? I got a lot of experience and learned a lot about what to do, or not do, on future jobs. This was my first actual catering job- all of my others have been of the "drop it off and run" variety. This time I actually stayed, served, bussed tables, washed dishes, cleaned up afterwards and made sure that the party was a success from start to finish.

Now that the Baby Shower is over and done with I was able to take a day to myself for a change. I went to church this morning and then to brunch at Malone's afterwards. Then to Petsmart for some much needed supplies. After that, the day was mine to do (or not do) what I pleased. I planned on cutting the grass today, but God sent me a message (in the form of a huge thuderstorm), that I should just watch TV and relax for a change. Hey, when God talks, I listen. Now it's time to go lay on the couch with a beer in one hand, a remote control in the other and some good old movies playing in the background. Ahhhhh!


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