Friday, November 9, 2007

How I Began Catering--or, Am I Crazy!!!???~~~

I have had two people ask me how I got into catering, and so, to save from a LONG email back, I'm going to share it in a post.
I have always, always cooked. I am an oldest child of working parents, and from age 13 on one of my responsibilities was having dinner on the table, or at least begun, when Mom & Dad got home from work. The other was ironing---I am sensational at ironing, but I don't think I want to do that for a second career!!!!
So, my school was the school of "Trial & Error". After I got married, until I went back to work full-time, I would host holiday parties for friends---and I prepared all the food. Sometimes we would have up to 60 people in our house--I cooked for days to feed and entertain these people.
I was also a Blue Bird (Camp Fire) leader, and cooking was one of our strong points!!
Through the years, I would be asked to furnish dinners for people at church (funerals, etc.), for pagent events in town, and for various other things.
After I went back to work full-time I thought my dream job of cooking was over. Not so much! After 10 years at my "day" job, the Wednesday evening hostess for the church retired. I was approached about taking this position, and after talking with my boss, (who knew this was an unfulfilled passion), it was agreed that I could take off on Wednesdays to pursue this. For the past 7 years, I have cooked dinner for 100-150 people each Wednesday, September though May. I plan the menus, do the shopping, and cook the meal. I do have two ladies come in late afternoon and help set up and serve.
Ok, so now I'm working at the school and at the church. One other girl in my office was cooking the school athletic banquets, and people began to approach her about cooking at other events. We attend church together, and she wanted a partner, so viola!!, she & I are catering on week-ends and evenings. After 5 years of working together, she decided this wasn't her cup of tea; plus, her children are nearly out of school (last daughter is a Sr), and her husband travels with work (of course, she wanted to go!!!), and she brought up the thought of getting out. I offered to buy her out, we agreed on a price, and Nov of 2006, I became the sole proprietor of the catering business!!!
Through the years some of my jobs, besides weddings and anniversaries, have been lunches for the Chamber of Commerce monthly (have done this for 4 years), occasional lunches & special events for the Better Business Bureau, receptions for the local banks & city offices, receptions for the Fire Fighters (major city involved), church dinners for other churches, and the Chamber banquet. The most I have prepared for to date is 350.
So, here's where I have ended up!!! Sometimes it's very stressful---such as when the Education Foundation has a Tuesday luncheon, Wednesday church dinner, Chamber luncheon and a reception all in one week!!! Tends to make me busy and cranky!!! The furthest I have traveled for catering has been 1 1/2 hours away--did a dinner wedding reception for 200 PLUS the cake & groom's cake. You guessed it---I have also taken all the Wilton cake courses, and have sold cakes for 5 years!!!!!
Even with all the stress and hurried frenzy, I do love this job---and someday I hope to be doing that ONLY!!! Just a few more things to pay off.
So, that's my story. Maybe not too exciting, but long!!!
Have a good evening!

Friday Fill Ins

1. Plans and schedules make my chaotic life so much easier!

2. I'm happy when my kids call or come to visit!

3. The last thing I drank was water.

4. One of the most valuable things in my life is family.

5. I like pepperoni or cheese only on my pizza.

6. Dear November, you are one of my favorite months--here in Oklahoma it's still autumn, and the trees are turning. The hint of December & it's festivities are looking from up ahead!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I've been to Sam's for church groceries, made chicken enchiladas & two pies for a family dinner tomorrow night; Saturday shopping with my sis & daughter; Sat night family birthday dinner -- 3 in Nov;
Sunday church & dinner with sis & family, and son at St Anthony's Greek Orthodox--Lebanese menu.

But, yea!!! I don't have to be ready til 9:30 in the morning!!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I AM Smiling!!!!!

Whish! The days are just running by--at warp speed. Don't you feel it too??? It's November 8 & Kari @ Just Livin Large, keeps reminding us how many days til Christmas and I AM NOT READY!!!

Anyone watch the CMT awards last night? I really like this music, and have just figured out why---the country music of today reminds me of the "southern rock" of the 70's--well, sweet home Alabama---I'm right at home with this. And those guys are soooo cute---not that I'm paying too much attention!! But that Brad Paisley and John Rich can get my attention! Love those songs--Somewhere Between Raisin Hell & Amazing Grace. Now that sounds like a song I live to.

Not too much happening around here today--and that can be a good thing. Shopping with sis & daughter on Saturday; birthday dinner for dad, sis and son in law Saturday evening. Then Sunday--Hafli Dinner. A local church, St Anthony's Greek Orthodox, hosts a Lebanese dinner at this time each year and it is YUMMY!!! Cabbage rolls, tabouli, baklava, and other things I can't spell.

Tomorrow is payday---yea!!! I'l have a dollar's worth of change again!!! Means I shouldn't call in sick--I really wanted to cause I'm so behind at home, but on PAYDAY????? No way!

Tonight is "put away things" night. All the Halloween decor is sitting in the middle of the dining room table. Folded clothes are also there and in a chair next to the table. Magazines strewn hither and yon!!! Shoes, shoes, shoes, just the two of us at home, but shoes, shoes, shoes in every room--how did that happen???

Gotta run--just saw the time & it's time for the shower ---"wash away my troubles, wash away my pain, with the rain of Shambala" Who remembers that song?????

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!!!

Ahh--this is the street in my town; this is where I shop and meet all my friends during the holiday season; this is where we go for hot cocoa and gingerbread---NOT! But isn't it dreamy??? And wouldn't it be great if this were our town???
I actually received the first gift that I ordered online in the mail today--Fisher Price!!! There is nothing so fun as shopping through magazines and toy store fliers!!! Remember the wonder as you shopped for your want list? I remember we always got the Spiegel and Penny's Christmas catalouges in the mail. My brother and sister and I would spend hours purusing the pages, listing item after item we wanted from Santa. Didn't matter one iota if we got something on the list or not. Christmas was always wonderful--
Does anyone else remember Otasco's Christmas television ads? The ones I refer to were on in the mid-60's and featured a little elf named (I think) Tom??? I loved the commercials for toys!!! I also loved (and still do) all the Christmas specials on TV. Remember the King Family Christmas??? Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra combining families for a Christmas singfest??? Charlie Brown's Christmas, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas??? All the cartoon versions--weren't they the best??? After my kids grew up, I used to watch them ALONE--but now!!! Now I have Hank to watch them with. And to teach about Christmas lists!!! The wonder has been rejuvinated!!!
I still hang stockings for my kids--as long as you believe~~~ And I don't care one bit if it reeks of secularism. As strong a Christian as I am, as spiritual as I am, I LOVE SANTA and all the other fantasy people of Christmas---And all of the excitement surrounding the holiday.
I was in Hallmark Sunday and there were ornaments replicating "A Christmas Story"--you know the one "You'll shoot your eye out"! So, my son in law (who loves that movie) is getting the "leg lamp"ornament--it's foreign--from Fragile!!! Oh I love this time of year.
One of my favorite things is to find special gifts that represent what someone likes and play to that. Things someone else might over look. All year long I make lists of what my family & friends mention they like, what their interest are, etc. It's quite the game with me.
Well, enough about that.
I hope all of you are approaching this season not with dread, but with the enthusiasim of childhood. Slow down and make cookies--drink hot cocoa. What gets done, gets done. What can be attended, so be it. Just slow down and enjoy!!!
Happy Days Ahead!!!