Monday, November 2, 2009
Cooking for 150
My sister is 12 and a half years older than me; it has made for an interesting sibling dynamic. The older we get, the less difference that decade plus makes and the more i realize the ways in which we are similar. These are the typed and highlighted individual schedules that were hanging on her fridge: -she made ones for the bride and groom as well. When Matt (my nephew) and Kelly were talking about the wedding and it became apparent that her parents weren't going to pay for anything, my sister sat them down and gave them 2 reception options, based on how much money she could spend: they could have the reception catered and invite 50 people or she could do all the cooking and they could invite whomever they wanted. Not a hard decision, right? Back to how alike we are... here is the typed menu with all the ingredients listed and then highlighted as they were purchased. Really, looking at her preparation is like scary insight into my own behavior. I walked in to her house the day before the wedding to the dining room full the kitchen full and the living room full need some rolls? There were 4 hams thawing in the laundry room. It was tidy chaos. We had to commandeer the coffee table to set up the assembly line for SIX green bean casseroles, which then needed a place to cool after coming out of the oven. It was raining, but the front porch did the trick. There was a bit of a crisis when Kris (my sis) realized she's done the math wrong in doubling the hasbrown casserole recipe and only had enough stuff for FOUR steamer pans worth instead of SIX. CRAP. I'm not saying she was wigging out, but between you and me, she was wigging out. I could easily see me reacting the same way. It is really upsetting to carefully plan and plan and then have something go wrong - doubly so if it was your own mistake. Luckily it was not my party so i wasn't freaking and could be sensible about things. Her sons - Matt, the groom and David, the best man- had arrived by then to load the truck. Load the truck? What truck? Load it with what? you ask Did i forget to mention that Kris and Kelly did all of the decorations and they were in her guest room? So as i talked her down about the hasbrowns, David kindly offered to carry everything from the back of the house to the porch so that Matt could load everything into the truck to go to the reception hall after the rehearsal dinner to decorate. Did i already say that it was raining? Matt's exact words were I can't wait for this to just be over, already. I'm pretty sure he was talking about the wedding mayhem and not his marriage. The boys finished loading as Kris and I devised a slight recipe alteration that would allow for 5 steamer trays of hashbrown casserole, so they stayed to lend a hand. David was in charge of measuring ingredients and bringing them to the living room where i did construction and at the end he put on the finishing touches (see my poor hand? not only is it covered in goo; it is frozen. David had to run warm water on it in the sink for me to get feeling back in it) Meanwhile, Matt and Kris worked on the 30 pounds of BBQed meatballs. Not pictured is the unending pasta salad that involved my chopping red and green peppers for 45 minutes (i was about to start when Kris shouted No, don't touch those! and i had to remind her that i am not tactilely allergic to them, only injestionally. Her panic was funny in the moment because she was so tired), the green salad (ever seen 20 pounds of lettuce? lettuce doesn't weigh that much; 20 pounds is a LOT of lettuce), the shredded chicken that she had already finished, the pulled beef that we bought (it's okay to purchase some things and make others, in my book) or the multiple crockpots full of cocktail weenies (Matt's favorite). Plus the crudite and cheese platters that were picked up the next morning, with their corresponding 24 boxes of crackers. It was truly amazing. Long after they had all left for the rehearsal I finished cooking and glazing the 4 hams and went back to the hotel to crash. I opted out of the rehearsal dinner and was perfectly happy eating a Wendy's hamburger in my room. Especially after the nerve-wracking transportation of the very breakable, original centerpieces for the buffet tables that my sister created that had delicate fiber optic sprays in them. She wouldn't even let her sons carry them to my car. Imagine driving them in a an unfamiliar rental car on unfamiliar twisty, turny backroads of rural Ohio, in the dark, in the rain. It was a lot of fun to help my sister out and really be a part of the wedding preparations, but by Friday night i needed a nap and a drink, not necessarily in that order. And we hadn't even decorated the hall, yet.