Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recap: The Food

 Four things that were important to me at our party were:
  1. Food,
  2. Beverages,
  3. Cake, and
  4. Dancing.
    Food is probably the most important reception detail. Every one's expecting some sort of meal and most of the guest made a sacrifice to be there, so we wanted to make sure they were well fed. I think they were, since we had lots left over, and reports of people going for seconds.
    I really wanted to incorporate Filipino dishes into the menu, in addition to the catered food. No one, I mean no one makes pancit and lumpia like my own mother makes them, so I asked her to make these dishes. It was the most wonderful gift to not only Hubbs & I, but to everyone else. I love her pancit and how she mixes the clear rice noodle with the yellow flour noodles. I asked her to skip the Chinese sausage, because not many people like it, myself included. Her lumpia (Filipino eggrolls, which are deep fried & skinny. Someone described them as a cross between an empanada and a taquito, and I guess that's an accurate description coming from a non-Filipino) don't taste like any one's I've ever had before. There's none of that seasoned pork flavor you'd inside a potsticker. She used ground beef, shredded carrots, green beans, garlic & soy sauce. Sometimes I crave them and grab a few from the freezer and fry them up.
My second-cuz and the lumpia. Photo by Bob Laigo

   My mom and aunt came over and cook for hours, quietly and diligently. This meant so much to Shawn & I. There is really no thanks big enough for what these ladies did for us, no card of gift that would equal their gift. I only hope I can give this gift to my family in the future, returning the favor in down the line.
Here they are working hard in my tiny kitchen. Photo by Lindsay Salet
Pancit prep. Photo by Lindsay Salet

    I was elated to see people enjoying these dishes. A dear old friend, with whom I lived in college, reminisced about the time when I tried to make it at our house, but my  mom's is the real deal.

Plus, here is what I learned about catering:
  1. Make sure you go over every detail beforehand including how things are served.  I had asked that out London Broil be served sliced, but they were put into tiny sandwiches with horsey sauce on them. Granted, this dish was mainly for others, but I generally stay away from condiments. I didn't even eat one.
  2. If you order something you should get it.  Beware the person who writes things down so illegibly that even she or her staff couldn't read it. I was supposed to get a single serving of mac' & cheese, only because the caterer insisted, stating she does single servings for brides all the time. I can just imagine the special requests! I said this would be great. Sadly, I think they forgot. I wondered if they couldn't decipher her notes!
  3. Ask who is working the event. We had a lovely, enthusiastic and helpful staff member who I remember to this day. Make sure you get people who smile and are helpful, and who don't look like they just want to go home. Actually say this to your caterer and the message will get passed to staff. Maybe the lurchy guy will smile next time.
  4. Money Talks. Pay your bill & tip well. Your business and input will always be welcome in the future.
  5. Give an accurate guest count. Don't try to account for people who may come. If they haven't replied "yes" they probably won't show. You will not run out of food. You'll have leftovers, most likely. You can always donate the rest and write it off. Since we stayed in town with family, we ate a lot it it the next night.
Seems simple, but I wish I had done these things. Just for my peace of mind. It is so nice not to worry about little details anymore, even thought I said I wouldn't worry about them in the first place.

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