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kitchengoddess's picture

Was asked by a friend of my inlaws to help her by catering a lunch for her family reunion.  I have never done this before...but I agreed.  The lunch is tomorrow and I am hoping all goes well.  I hope I haven't forgotten anything and that I don't horribly burn or screw something up in regards to the food.

The menu she requested is:

baked ham

devilled eggs


turkey slices from the deli

bean casserole (her own recipe)

jello salad


fruit platter

ice cream

So, I hope that I do well...this has proven to be a logistical nightmare as she has changed the menu 3 times and is an elderly woman so keeps forgetting what we have agreed on.

Potato salad is in the fridge as are the devilled eggs and the jello salad is cooling.

Wish me luck, if I remember I'll take pictures. :)

Pielove's picture

catering... (post #71446, reply #1 of 10)

Good luck kitchengoddess!!!  How many people are you feeding?  The menu sounds good-- not too many fussy last-minute things, and a good number of purchased items (ice cream for dessert, great idea).  I hope she doesn't mis-remember too many dishes you were supposed to make-- but I bet the family will be forgiving if they know her well.

I look forward to hearing how it went-- pictures or not!


kitchengoddess's picture

No time... (post #71446, reply #2 of 10)

Thanks for your encouragement pie.  There were to be 27 ppl including 5 children.

  I guess I shouldn't be surprised but of course things went a bit hairy at the drop off time.   She had asked me to have eveything ready for 1:30pm and she said she had hoped they could be there for that time and they weren't running late.  Of course I arrive and every single one of her guests is there. 

My jello salad did not turn out and it was a big puddle of goo :(  The ham was nice and I honestly feel that this potato salad was the best I've ever made, thanks to FC for that!.

As everyone was sitting there watching I set up the table as quickly as I could but I forgot the ice cream, the cutlery and the second tray of devilled eggs at home, thankfully my helper was able to run back to get them.

She wasn't being very nice and I just had to keep smiling and trying my best to be kind and patient.

I had no time for pictures as people were already there.

Big I have to pick everything up at 5pm.

Will let you know in the end how they liked everything (except for the jello salad, for which I am sure I'll get an earful).

Dashx's picture

Oh, I feel your pain! (post #71446, reply #3 of 10)

What a brave person you are, kitchengoddess!  I look forward to hearing the rest.

I'm sure you did great, and that everyone enjoyed the food; the food was made with care.  Don't fret about the jello salad.  I bet she calls you again!  (.....and it's ok to say no, I hope.....!)


kitchengoddess's picture

No bad reviews (post #71446, reply #4 of 10)

Well, when I went back to pick everything up I hear nothing but praises.  Not a word about the jello salad.  I just wasn't too crazy about the way she talked to me when I was setting up.  I know she was flustered but it was difficult to deal with on the spot.

I have sworn up and down (and asked DH to hold me to it) that I will never do this for her again.  All the stress was not worth it.  I do love cooking and I would do it for someone else in a flash but not her.

Thanks for the support!

Pielove's picture

phew! (post #71446, reply #5 of 10)

Good job!  (Both the cooking and the people management!)  I agree though-- some clients you don't need!  Are you a professional caterer, or were you just doing this because you're nice?  

Anyway, it sounds like it came off rather well, jello salad aside!


kitchengoddess's picture

definitely not a professional (post #71446, reply #7 of 10)

No, I am definitely not a professional.  But I did have a short stint working in a restaurant kitchen as a prep person.  I was really a waitress but they were short of people and I like to cook and needed the money so voila!

I did it because I need the extra income. I have done things like appetizers for parties for my inlaws, cakes for people, etc, but never to this extent.

yeah, I think I'll try to make the jello salad on my own again, just to see what went wrong.  It is my husband's grandmothers' recipe so I figured it was a no fail recipe, but I guess I was wrong! :)  She didn't say anything about it though, so that's good news for me!!!

Gretchen8's picture

I'm sure you did a wonderful (post #71446, reply #6 of 10)

I'm sure you did a wonderful job. I suspect your jello was not dissolved in the boiling water--or did you have something like fresh fruit in it?

If you ever want an EASY meal to fix for that number just do pulled pork and all the trimmings. Easy and cheap.

kitchengoddess's picture

or needed a bigger package (post #71446, reply #8 of 10)

Do you think maybe I should've bought the bigger package for the ratio of water called for?  The recipe calls for canned fruit (pineapple and mandarin oranges) would this have made that big a difference?

I didn't have any input into the menu, I wish!  The good thing is that we had started with a menu of sandwiches and then landed on this.  This was a far better menu, much less labour intensive!

Thanks for the encouragement :)

Gretchen8's picture

Jello will set 2 cups of (post #71446, reply #9 of 10)

Jello will set 2 cups of liquid. Since I don't know the recipe, can't say.

Pielove's picture

jello! (post #71446, reply #10 of 10)

Maybe package sizes have changed since the recipe was written-- I have that issue with grandma's chocolate chip cookie recipe.  

If you use fresh fruit instead of canned, you have to be careful-- some fruit (like pineapple) contains enzymes that will break down the gelatin.  Canned fruit is treated at a high enough temperature to inactivate the enzymes.

I you'll have to give it another try and report back!  I love a good jello salad-- my husband's aunts can usually be depended on to make something interesting.  I'm glad you didn't get any complaints for that!