Sometime back in mid-October my principal gave me the task of arranging for breakfast and lunch for 15 GLAD seminar attendees for 7 days. There would be a 2 day session and a 5 day session, a month apart. My budget was roughly $1600 to cover everything they needed. Not a big deal, there it is, cut and dried.
Our school is located as far west as possible without being out of town. Connecting routes to town are good, but what’s actually IN town is the next problem. There aren’t many places to acquire food in our town. Yes, we have most of the usual fast-food stops, and a few greasy-spoons (literally), but a place to go, pick up catered food and transport it…not so much. I decided early on, that I’d do the food as a caterer, and make it all go a lot easier on me….at least on one side of the equation.
My first 2-day stint went really well. I blogged that back in November. I had picked up all the plates, cups, and utensils they’d need at that time. The packages were just about perfect for our use. The right amount of plates, napkins, cups and so on were on site and ready for the 5 day session…no worries.
There’s one other component to this array that’s very important…1/3 of the seminar attendees are vegans. That’s a very high percentage for a small school district, but it was one of the considerations I needed to keep in the back of my mind. The good news, they aren’t severely strict about it. No red meat for all, no meat at all for just one; eggs and dairy welcomed. It could have been a LOT worse!
I tried to build my menu with serious consideration going to my own energy levels. I needed to work my usual 40+ hours a week, and manage the shopping and cooking too. I made one mistake. I forgot to take into consideration that I was performing in a Christmas concert immediately prior to this seminar, and I’m very involved in the background of the concert. I put the most complicated, energy using items early in the week. I also arranged buying fresh fruits and veggies according to when I could manage a shopping trip. It did get a little tight with the concert…I should have been doing a lot of shopping that day, but I put it off until after the concert had ended that evening. It made the evening run kind of late…like ’til the next morning, and I got a brief nap before starting my work day. Still…it all worked out.
Monday’s menu consisted of an assortment of muffins for breakfast, with juice, yogurt, fruit and granola, and for lunch, beef and cheese enchiladas for the meaties, and a chile relleno casserole for the veggies;
rice, beans, salad with Southwestern Ranch dressing, pico de gallo
and turtle brownies for dessert. There were no problems; the chile relleno casserole was a huge hit. I made the enchiladas Sonora style…stacked like pancakes…and that made them easy to serve to a large group. The rice was simply Mexican rice, and the refried beans had cream cheese whipped into them for a little extra richness, but we didn’t tell anyone. *Ü*
Tuesday’s breakfast was sweet rolls, juice, and grapes, and lunch was Tuscan Pasta – penne pasta baked in a red sauce with sausage and cheese for the meaties, and roasted veggies and cheese for the vegans. Personally…they got the better lunch. The roasted veggies came out REALLY well and it was SO good! – with salad and garlic bread, and cookies for dessert.
By Wednesday, I was definitely dragging some. I picked up deli-sliced meats and cheeses and created a build-your-own sandwich tray with marinated veggies, minestrone soup and cherry-pecan crunch for dessert. Their breakfast was Strawberry Stuffed French Toast with juice on the side.
Thurday’s breakfast was a coffee cake from Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, CA. That’s one yummy coffee cake! OMGosh! They also had fresh fruit and juice on the side. Lunch today was chile and cornbread with honey-butter. The chile turned out to be completely veggie-friendly. I’d been planning to split the batch in half, but I had exactly the flavor I wanted without any beef…so I stopped right there! We served grated cheese along side and I know I gave them some sort of dessert, but I can’t remember what it was right now! LOL!
Friday…ah…sweet Friday! I told them this was the day we were articulating subjects…they were doing Language Arts work and I was feeding them “remainders.” They had the rest of…the sweet rolls and coffee cake for breakfast, along with fruit and juice and yogurt. Lunch…we sent out for pizza. My duties were concluded.
This was quite an experience. I learned a lot about my personal energy levels, perserverance, timing, and so on. I managed to feed us in the process of creating for others. I used us as guinea pigs for sampling. I found my head does pretty well figuring out how much food to prepare. The only day we had WAY too much food was pasta day. Part of that was because it was prepped the night before and the pasta absorbed a lot of the sauce. So, it was a little dry, but had a great flavor. Hmmmm. The chile was the hit of the week though. And that totally blew me away. It isn’t even what I consider my best work, but it’s right up there. Interesting. And now it’s over…they’ve been trained in GLAD and I’m glad it’s finished. Back to the holidays, right after a long winter’s nap!