Today was the end of a three-day marathon, trying to get everything together for Michael's lunch. They'd decided, last week, on doing 'turkey rolls' for the lunch, and I didn't argue, though I thought they had ordered way too much meat and that it was stupid to cook them the morning of, rather than cooking them, safe, beforehand, and then reheating them as slices. Turkey tastes great reheated.
John dealt with Jet, with a Costco run late Friday in the teeth of the wind before a big snow store, and then with hysterical me as the oven broke while I was in the midst of 300 rolls. It just stopped lighting. The ignition element gave up the ghost while I had two more half-sheet pans filled with raised rolls ready for the heat. I ended up baking them in the toaster oven. I am so thankful we have a toaster oven instead of just a toaster.
I also started coming down with Jet's cold symptoms on Saturday, and John went out to get a new igniter system, fill in some grocery gaps, and get a few other things, so I had him bring me back a box of the Zicam gel swabs. I'd always wanted to try them, but never had the guts to until I saw their study. Yay for ionized zinc!
It worked well enough that I was able to prep 150 servings of stuffing, vegetables, cut tomatoes for salad, and make cranberry sauce. We packed everything into the Eurovan and went, through blowing snow, to the church to unload everything. John wanted to see the layout. Jet wanted to play in the snow. He was bundled up enough for that, I think, and he enjoyed it. So that went well.
We then went home and, using the oven that John repaired, made another gross of rolls. John wanted to be sure that we didn't run out of that or the salad as folks could fill up with that if they wanted. So I did that while John kept the still recovering Jet happy.
Sunday morning started a bit early, as we wanted to get in early enough to be sure everything was in place and John had to do some things with the AV equipment for Michael for the service. So we did. Jet went with Bonnie, needing occasional hellos and hugs from John and I through the whole thing. He made for welcome kitchen breaks, and then he fell asleep on John's shoulder. So we tucked him into his car seat and he had an hour and a half long nap in the kitchen while I pre
I first focussed on organizing the layout, with lots of help from John, as he was able to help until he had to help with the service itself. He got the table lined up, and I got all the condiments, and things that should be self-serve on it. Since salad and rolls were the two things I was totally unconcerned about running out of, they went on the self-serve table. I also moved the gravy and the cranberry sauce to the self-serve areas. People could help themselves. That was good. I didn't want to put anything in the oven too early, as they'd go mushy or get burnt by being in there too long.
I got the vegetables in way early, along with as many pans of the stuffing as I could. The stuffing would hold heat probably indefinitely. I was less sure of the vegetables, but since they were raw, I could take them out whenever they were cooked to my liking and they could be reheated. I had salad in bags and I didn't want to take it out of the fridge any earlier than I had to as I didn't want the leaves to wilt.
There were a few people who were very anxious about their parts of the lunch, and then spilled their anxiety over onto all the things I was responsible for. Luckily, I decided not to attend the service, and just concentrated on my items. It was nice to be able to do so in peace, without anyone worrying about what I was doing. John spoils me, I think. He always lets me get on with what I know how to do, and he never heightens my worry or anxiety by being that way himself. I love that. When they came back and tried to do the things I already did, I finally snapped at them. I don't mind people being anxious about their things, but there's something soul-sapping about someone assuming that I can't do what I promised I would do. I hate that.
I hate it fiercely.
Anyway. I just kept quiet while John told them to have faith. And everything I did turned out to be warm when they wanted to start serving. The ladies lined up with all the tins of food, and started serving. I got the salad out onto the salad table.
And people started going through the line. The servers were good about telling people when to bring them more food. The salad turnover was pretty quick. I kept bringing in more pans of fresh greens and replacing the old and dumping it on top of the new one, so that the already served stuff wouldn't come back into the kitchen. I kept up with the salads. The servers were great and it was cool to see people that liked interacting with everyone that wanted food doing that job. I am not good at that.
Anyway. I sat with the sleeping Jet when I didn't have to do anything. Everything aches. I think it's from standing, walking, carrying, and doing stuff on my feet so much. If I were ever to do this on a regular basis, I'd probably need chef's clogs. My really cheap all-weather mocs have no arch support.
It went well. We ran very low on vegetables and green beans; but folks didn't mind because there was a plethora of salad. The stuffing, when the servers decided to use the vegetarian stuff along with the regular stuff, was plenty. The guy in charge of the turkey had been very worried about having enough for everyone, but there were copious leftovers, so no one went without. Several people asked who the caterer was, which was flattering. They'd had catered events here, before, and I guess this was the quality they expected. I got one of the final plates that they servers made to just set out for folks to eat, and as I expected, the stuffing was still warm, the vegetables were ice cold (no heating table), and the turkey was body temp. There were a seventy rolls left, and fifteen pounds of salad.
The cranberry sauce ran out about two-thirds of the way through. That surprised me a little, as when I bring it to Thanksgiving celebrations it usually doesn't get touched, but I guess there were far more people used to the more traditional condiment here. Or something. Ah well. There was way too much salad. But John found out that the OUR center, the local food bank, took fresh stuff, too, and they were delighted to get great quality greens. That was a good use.
After all that work with the cooking, I couldn't stand cleaning up, too. So I didn't. I just took my leftovers, and went home with John and napped for nearly three hours. Jet napped another two, and John pulled him from the room then, as he didn't want Jet to sleep too long, and as it was, Jet had a fairly restless night. Not bad, just restless.
So it's been a success. I've never cooked on this scale before, and it felt good to get it all done so smoothly and get the compliments. Michael and Pam said that it was really good, and were thankful that we'd done that. John had MC'ed for the post-food celebration, and that went really well as well, as they'd brought people in from all over the country to celebrate Michael's work in the UCC. That was really cool.
I heard, afterward, that during the children's message, they'd had all the kids take a Hershey's Kiss or Hug to Michael. And that, alone of all the kids, when Jet had given Michael his Kiss, Jet had gone back to the person handing them out for one for himself. *grin* Everyone thought that was the funniest thing.
I mildly regret completely missing the service; but I think I would have cried so hard at Michael's devestment. He's the pastor I learned the most from of the two that ran Longmont's First UCC; but I like Anne a lot. It's just that his sermons often spoke the most to me. I appreciated the different styles of the two pastors, but Michael always seemed to touch on the aspects that were the most important to me. So it is. I'll keep learning, and probably get something interesting from the new associate pastor, Diane, as well. But I'll miss Michael.
Still, I've had hard experience about equating a pastor to a congregation. I think I'm ready for the new things that can happen with the new mix, too. We'll see