My exhaustion on Friday was from a labor of love. I helped a good friend with the food for a surprise retirement party for her man. I would have talked about the preparations, but was concerned he might see. I mean, I really doubt Gary has seen my blog, but if I had written about a surprise party, sure enough that would be when he would decide to look! LOL
I have talked about Gary before (https://neatnosh.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/finding-balance-lessons-gary-taught-me/) in a previous post. You may recall he is the CIA grad ~ a trained chef ~ who likes my cooking! When Jannetta decided to have a party she asked me to do the food. I actually said no at first (it seemed intimidating) but in the end I did, of course.
We went shopping last weekend to get most of the supplies needed to prepare food and the hall for the roughly 50 guests. The preparations began with the vat of sauce (https://neatnosh.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/making-ahead-sauce/) that I made on Thursday. This sauce had two purposes. It was used for baked ziti and it was the base for 16 pounds of sausage and 12 peppers in four colors. That dish, I humbly submit, was the favorite. Despite so many other foods offered, that dish was gone except for a bit of sauce!
The party was held in a fire hall on Saturday evening. The menu was hearty and the food appreciated by all. There was:
- A veggie platter ~ Purchased and brought by his brother!
- A tossed salad
- A deli platter ~ Purchased and brought by a friend!
- A cheese platter with fresh grapes
- Salsa (https://neatnosh.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/salsa/) and tortilla chips
- Pasta salad
- Potato salad
- Tortellini salad
- Fresh breads and rolls from a local bakery
- Sweet and sour meatballs
- Sausage and peppers …. the real hit
- Baked ziti
- 3 cheese mac
- Trail mix (https://neatnosh.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/flavors-on-the-go-trail-mix/)
- And a few salty snacks
My friend was truly funny ~ so worried there would not be enough food. I mean, look at the list! And let me tell you that the quantity of each item was outrageous! At the end of the day the food was enjoyed, the party a success, and there was one very tired, but happy cook! It was a good tired. The planning, organizing, and cooking of this feast was truly a pleasure.
Sitting with some friends that I used to work with, Michelle was sharing with her boyfriend, Patrick, that I used to cook for the guidance staff because we did lunchtime meetings. She was talking about having sampled my cooking when I said “Food is love!” without a thought! This was an expression we used all of the time and remembering it made me smile.
That night, for Gary, food was love. It brought a roomful of people (who love him!) together for a night to celebrate his retirement. People shared funny stories and memories of his unsung achievements and kindnesses. They brought him gifts, but the best gift was that they showed up.
A lovely PS*** There was so much food leftover that Barry spoke to Jannetta and suggested she leave it for the firemen. There is going to be a lot of activity at that fire department (and hundreds of others in the northeast) with Hurricane Sandy on the move. Thanks volunteers. Food is love!