Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's a Little Late ...

OK. This is just a little late but look on the bright side, at least I'm posting it now versus never. You may or may not recall the promise, but back before our trip to Siberia I cooked at a Valentine's banquet, and I promised at some point to put the story up on our blog.

How I got into the banquet business on top of language learning and raising kids is a complicated story, but it starts by my being asked to do it by someone in our family group. OK, so maybe I wasn't really asked, exactly. I may have sort of volunteered (much to everyone's dismay), or maybe the truth is somewhere in between.

I was having a conversation with the director of the banquet (a lady from our family group) and she was telling me how everything was going wrong in planning this thing. One of the things she told me was that she no longer had a cook. Before I knew it, I was signed up! I couldn't back out now (oh darn). Side note: in case you can't tell, I have always wanted to cook for a large group/party such as this.

After much discussion, we decided on chicken curry on rice, salad, and broccoli for dinner and punch bowl cake for dessert. Did I mention I was to cook for 130 people? So, one week before the banquet I started preparing.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have a tendency to go a little overboard when I do something like this. [Husband's Note: "a little overboard," when spoken by B, refers to something that goes out of control from the moment it starts, and then ends up with a doll tea party being decorated by Neiman Marcus and catered by the Angus Barn.] So, I decided to make little chocolate leaves for the dessert garnish (half milk chocolate leaves and half dark chocolate with amaretto leaves) - 225 leaves altogether. Also, I wanted to prepare the dessert in individual glasses. The week before the banquet I started preparing the chocolate leaves.

On Thursday, I prepared 6 large pots of pudding, 7 chocolate cakes, and 6 large bowls of whipped cream (all from scratch). Not overboard, right? Then, on Friday I had several ladies come and help me prepare the glasses. It only took 4 hours to prepare 120 glasses. Not bad considering I thought it was going to take a lot longer.

The next day was the banquet and I realized how much we had to do before the actual meal. My two very close and best of friends who didn't mind helping me at all and would do it again if I asked them :) came with me to help do all the chopping and cutting. Since I have a severe reaction to cutting onions (oh darn) my two best of friends did it for me and would do it again if I asked (right?).

We spent from 10am-3pm cutting and chopping but managed to get it done and in the pot on time. And, oh, what a pot. I thought I could handle it at first by myself but soon realized I could not.

So, my best of friends who would do it again if I asked (I hope you are reading this Julie and Erin) helped me in stirring.

We stirred ...

and stirred ...

and stirred ...

and stirred.

It only took us 3 hours for the finished product.

Finally, the moment of truth. Dinner was served.

People seemed to like it but being the perfectionist that I am, I was not pleased with it (too thin). But, now I know what I'm getting myself into for the next time (which according to J there won't be a next time). Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Of course, the next day we headed off to T-land. Busy week but worth it.