Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learning from hobbies

This is what I served 10 of our closest friends in Bowling Green, Ohio for Christmas in 1998.

  1. Raw vegetable platter with roasted garlic creamed cheese and Olive Penguins
  2. Shrimp Bisque
  3. Home Made Croissants  
  4. Grilled Salmon with a white butter cream sauce & steamed green beans
  5. Pumpkin Ravioli with a pesto drizzle
  6. Antipasta
  7. Roasted Goose with Cumberland Dressing 
  8. Beef Wellington
  9. Green Salad
  10. Cheese platter 
  11. Tiramisu
  12. Home Roasted Nuts
The meal took 5 days to decide what to serve; and in these times, there were no apps - just lots of cook books and magazines. I spent 3 days lining up all the ingredients to know exactly how much I needed to get at the stores. I was not about to send my husband out for anything when he was in charge of cleaning. I also chopped ALL of the onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, celery, etc.,  in advance, keeping them ready for the day of cooking.

The day before the event, I baked and made the sauces, duxelles and paté for the Beef Wellington. Anything that could be made in advance, was done to all but final steps. All but one ingredient was made from scratch. Even the pasta dough. I only cheated on store bough puff pastry. The croissants were enough buttered rolling for the time. 

I made sure I had all the serving plates necessary. The day of the dinner, my cooking list was timed so that I was always on target. While the goose roasted, the Wellington was assembled. While that baked, the ravioli was being shaped. While that was boiling, the salmon was on the grill.

Steve handled the bar, the grill, and set the table. Our guests were instructed to bring a bottle of wine and tupperware for left-overs. I sent everyone home with whatever they didn't get enough of at the meal AND home made marshmallows.

It was over the top. It was supposed to be. It took is more than seven hours to consume it. Between the 12 of us, there were more than 15 empty wine bottles (retired soldiers) in our recycle bin.

It all turned out great. My crusty friend Glen even gave me the best compliment on the salmon - slamming his fork down after the first bite to scream, "This is the best fucking salmon I have ever eaten." My BG friends still ask for myTiramisu - it's wicked good when you have the right sherry.

I only made one mistake in the planning - not making sure all of the pans fit into the oven at the same time when needed. I only had to adjust by being in the kitchen more than I wanted. Still my friends kept me company while I assembled, and served.

I also cleaned dishes as the meal progressed. When dinner was over, there was only the roaster to clean, wine glasses and dessert plates, and the china to dry and return to its storage space to wait for the next Christmas indulgence.

The point of this memory is a note of self encouragement. I can do overwhelmingly fabulous things when I know how to line up each activity to fall into the right schedule. I must determine the time it takes to do each task, and to know when I can be active on one while another does it's thing without my hands on it.

I can determine the ingredients and schedule to make decisions work and life priorities if I only apply what I know about doing my 12 course Christmas meal. And I know I didn't pull that out of thin air. Time to start thinking about time in a different way. 

I feel energized by this thought. (Anyone hungry?)

#31 of 90in 90 for LUBlogTribe

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